Israel-Gaza – Greens underline need for accountability as UN report is deferred

UN Human Rights Council will today defer a vote on the Goldstone Gaza report until March 2010. The vote on the UN resolution concerning the report was mainly blocked by the US, with the silent support of the EU.[:]

The report of the Goldstone fact-finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict concluded that both Israel and Hamas have gravely violated international humanitarian and human rights law and more specifically, that both sides are responsible for war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. The report also calls both sides to undertake effective independent, impartial investigations on their conduct during the conflict within six months.

Greens/EFA MEPs Daniel Cohn-Bendit (Co-President of the Greens/EFA Group), Heidi Hautala (Chair of the EP human rights subcommittee) and Eva Joly (Chair of the EP development committee) commented (1):

“The failure by the EU Member States to endorse the report and to support the related resolution which calls on the General Assembly and relevant UN bodies to consider the conclusions of the independent fact-finding mission, signals that human rights violations of this gravity and impunity for war crimes and crimes against humanity are tolerated by the EU.

EU Member States must now demand that both sides of the conflict undertake investigations of alleged abuse. Should this not happen when the matter is discussed again in March then the EU should support the reports call for international accountability mechanisms.

The EU cannot be elusive towards human rights and thus must work to ensure that there shall be accountability for war crimes and no room for impunity. Justice is an essential element for progress on peace negotiations.

EU Member States have demonstrated that they are not united and consistent in their commitment to upholding human rights.”