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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Vers une enquête internationale sur les crimes de guerre en Liban

by Ramine Adabie

Steps taken toward an International Inquiry into War Crimes in Lebanon

Translated Saturday 19 August 2006, by Henry Crapo

A UN resolution is approved by a majority of 27 member states.

Geneva, special correspondent

The new United Nations Council on Human Rights, meeting in special session in Geneva, has sternly condemned the strikes carried out by Israël "on the population and on the civil infrastructure" in Lebanon. The Council has also decided to send special investigators, and, most importantly, to set up a commission of inquiry composed of "high level members", to evaluate violations of humanitarian rights and war crimes committed in the Land of Cedars.

It is on the basis of a resolution adopted by a majority of 27 member states (a group composed of Moslem and South American countries, with the aid of India, China and Russia) that the Council, in outrage, "energetically condemns the violations of human rights and infringements of international humanitarian law".

The other members of the Council, led by the European states, on the pretext that the text included no sufficiently explicit condemnation of the Hezbollah, refused to align themselves with the motion. According to the French representative on the Council, who finally lined up with the other European states to refuse the resolution, all the while regretting the absence of a concensus, said "Israël surely violated international law, but the Hezbollah did likewise, with their rockets".

Jean Ziegler, special investigator for rights to food supplies, will be one of those sent to Lebanon by the Council, once the situation is stabilized. In his view, it was a matter of "condemning the principal power responsible for the humanitarian violations", rather than, in searching for a concensus at any price, to permit the decision-making process to be blocked. In short, he said, we must avoid those mechanisms "that have paralyzed the Security Council for a month already." For her part, Louise Arbour, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, also defended the launching of an inquiry, all the while hoping that the commission will concern itself with "all violations committed, independent of who was involved".

published in l"Humanité on Wednesday, 16 August 2006, page 2.

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