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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Gaza.« Israël n’a pas mené d’enquête approfondie »

by Dominique Bari

Gaza. ‘Israel has not led an in-depth investigation’.

Translated Thursday 8 April 2010, by Nikita Shah and reviewed by Henry Crapo

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused Tel-Aviv of a truncated enquiry regarding allegations of war crimes during Operation ‘Cast Lead’ of January 2009 against Gaza.

‘Israel hasn’t show that it intends to lead a detailed and impartial enquiry into allegations according to which its forces had violated the laws of war’, during Operation Cast Lead, accused the human rights defence organisation, Human Rights Watch, based in New York. The twenty-two day long offensive (from 27th December 2008 to 18th January 2009) ended in bloodshed for the Palestinians, who counted 1,385 dead, of which 762 were non-combatants, and 13 Israelis died.

‘It is crucial to lead an independent enquiry in order to understand why so many civilians were killed and to be able to prosecute those responsible for the illegal attacks’, declared Joe Stork, a director of HRW. Israel published a report contested by the NGO, where it mentions investigations launched on 150 separate incidents, of which 36 are the subject of a criminal investigation. Two superior officers were reprimanded and only one sentence was issued according to the army: against a soldier that had stolen a credit card.

HRW specifies having met on 4th February lawyers for the Israeli Army and maintains that they did not convince it that Tzahal’s (the Israel Defence Forces) internal enquiries were ‘impartial and detailed’, or that they ‘analyzed the political and military leadership whose decisions brought about the deaths of civilians contrary to the laws of war’.

In a resolution adopted on 5th November, the UN General Assembly had given the Israeli and the Palestinian states three months to open enquiries into the allegations of war crime committed at the time of the conflict, contained in the report by the enquiry commission of South African judge Richard Goldstone. This report recommended the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice if the Israeli and Palestinian states did not announce between now and the end of January their intention to lead ‘credible’ investigations on the conduct of the conflict. On Thursday, the Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon, declared that at this stage, ‘no decision could be made on the implementation of the General Assembly’s Resolution 64/10’, by the parties concerned.

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