The Goldstone Report and Israeli Violations of International Human Law and Legal Historical antecedents in courting War Crimes
On 3rd April 2009, the President of the Human Rights Council established an international independent Fact Finding Mission with the mandate “to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after. The Mission is headed by Justice Richard Goldstone, former member of the South African Constitutional Court and former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. mission: The three other members of the team are Christine Chinkin, Professor of International Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science at the University of London; Hina Jilani, Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and former Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders; and retired Colonel Desmond Travers, member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for International Criminal Investigations (IICI). The United Nations fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict has found evidence that both Israeli forces and Palestinian militants committed serious war crimes and breaches of humanitarian law, which may amount to crimes against humanity. The head of the mission, Justice Richard Goldstone, told a press briefing on 15th of September 2009. “The mission concluded that actions amounting to war crimes and possibly, in some respects, crimes against humanity, were committed by the Israel Defense Force (IDF).” “The mission finds that the conduct of the Israeli armed forces constitute grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of wilful killings and wilfully causing great suffering to protected persons and as such give rise to individual criminal responsibility,” the report’s executive summary said. “It also finds that the direct targeting and arbitrary killing of Palestinian civilians is a violation of the right to life.” It went on to criticize the “deliberate and systematic policy on the part of the Israeli armed forces to targetindustrial sites and water installations,” and the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields. The Fact-Finding Mission also found that the repeated acts of firing rockets and mortars.
The report recommended that the Security Council should require Israel to take steps to launch appropriate independent investigations into the alleged crimes committed, in conformity with international standards, and report back on these investigations within six months. It further called on the Security Council to appoint a committee of experts to monitor the proceedings taken by the Israeli Government. If these did not take place, or were not independent and in conformity with international standards, the report called for the Security Council to refer the situation in Gaza to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). It also called on the Security Council to require the committee of experts to perform a similar role with regard to the relevant Palestinian authorities.
This research paper examines and analyzes the Israeli violations of human rights laws according to Goldstone Report. The paper further gives analysis of legal historical antecedents in courting criminals who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.