An information statement by the National Centre for Human Rights regarding the postponement of the consideration of the United Nations fact-finding mission regarding the Gaza Strip
In view of the rights – related repercussions resulting from the decision of the United Nations Human Right Council to postpone the voting on the adoption of the United Nations fact- finding mission report of the conflict in Gaza, which was supervised by the South African judge Richard Goldstone, regarding the grave and flagrant violations of the international human rights law and the international humanitarian law that were committed by Israel against the people of the occupied Gaza Strip, the National Centre for Human Rights expresses its deep concern over the postponement of the voting until march 2010. This indicates the absence of the political and legal desire to embark on noticeable measures regarding the criminal responsibility of violating the international humanitarian law and the international human rights law in the Gaza Strip. It also reflects a grave failure the role of the international Human Rights Council in assuring justice for the victims of the inhabitants of Gaza, and let slip the opportunity to pursue the Israeli criminals regarding actions that fall within the mandate of the International Criminal Court. While the National Centre for Human Rights welcomes the report and the recommendations it contains, as being issued by an international body that sought to look for the nature and magnitude of the violations , and the evidence it contained that points to the perpetration of Israel of war crimes, crimes against humanity and grave violations to the four 1949 four Geneva conventions; yet the Centre considers one of the most important strong points of the report is its demand of the necessity of serious accountability of the Israeli defendants in perpetrating these crimes.
The National Centre for Human Rights considers the postponement decision as being a contribution to the denial of judicial equity to the Palestinian people and represents a surrendering of the rights of the victims, and an undermining of the supremacy of the law; and a justification for the continuity of the violations against innocent civilians. It also misses the opportunity of the application of the internationally–recognized norm regarding the principles of combating escaping the punishment that was stipulated in article (15) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and article (9) of the International convention on civil and political rights and article (13) of the convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments , and the declaration of the basic principles of availing justice to the victims of crime and abuse of authority that was adopted and published by the resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations ( no. 34/40 on 29 November 1985) . The postponement will unjustifiably delay justice for several months , weaken deterrence as an effective mechanism of the international law in protecting the overall interest of the international community, as well as the prevention of the recurrence of these inhuman actions.
The Centre stresses that the conclusions of the investigation that judge Richard Goldstone has presented in this report regarding the grave violations of the international human rights law and the international humanitarian law were consistent with what the Centre has pointed out in its reports that it has issued in the context of its spearheading of the Jordanian National Coalition to pursue the perpetrators of the war crimes and genocide and the grave violations of the human rights of the civilian population of Gaza Strip ( the reports were issued on 27 December 2008 and 7 January 2009).
The Center urges all relevant quarters in the United Nations, especially the international Security Council which has the right to refer the conclusions of the report to the prosecutor general of the International Criminal Court – to take the decisive measures that guarantee the respect of the principle of not allowing the criminals to escape punishment; and the principle of assuring justice to the victims, away from the political standards that forfeit human dignity and obstruct international justice, and squander the opportunity of preventing the recurrence of these crimes in potential conflict, and put a unique state outside the obligations of the international law. It is the considered opinion of the Centre that impunity in the crimes of war and crimes against humanity lead to the absence of justice and the enhancement of the atmosphere of violence in the region. The Centre emphasizes that escaping punishment has resulted in a crises of justice in the occupied Palestinian Territories, since the Israeli Judicial system is inconsistent with the international standards relating to the investigation and judicial prosecution of the violations of the international human rights law and the international humanitarian law.
The Centre calls on the Arab states to ask for the convening of an extraordinary meeting of the international Human Rights Council to adopt the conclusions of the Goldstone report and follow it by the Security Council to prosecute Israel and its leaders, politically and judicially, before the International Criminal Court in order to investigate the war crimes and the crimes against humanity. The Centre appeals to the Arab and the international private and legal institutions to work together in the light of the conclusions of the report to judicially prosecute Israel for its crimes…. Whether those it had committed during its aggression on Gaza, or its continued colonization in the West Bank and the annexation and judaization of Jerusalem, which are considered violations to all international laws.
While the National Centre for Human Rights emphasizes the credibility of the report of judge Goldstone, and reject the accusations directed against him as being biased against Israel-since the latter is trying hard to contain the repurcussions of the report, and prevent the trial of its politicians and generals who have committed a series of violations that are tantamount to the levels of war crimes and crimes against humanity, according to the international humanitarian law, especially the 1949 Geneva forth convention, it views judge Goldstone as a credible international judge, since his career as a former judge in the South African high and constitutional courts and a prosecutor-general in the International War Crimes courts of Rwanda and Jugoslavia, testify to his professionalism, objectivity, integrity and independence. In denouncing the Western international pressures that caused the postponement of the report of Goldstone in order to protect Israel, the Centre views this protection as an encouragement to Israel to continue its flagrant violations of human rights and violate the international laws and keep it outside the context of accountability and questioning. It is worth noting that the report of judge Goldstone concluded that Israel has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity when its armed forces launched random attacks against the civilian people of Gaza without any military purpose and by using human shields within the framework of the her policy of deliberate murder-which constitutes a serious breach of the right to life-and causing horrible suffering to the protected people, and the use of internationally –banned weapons, the systematic and wanton destruction of the infrastructure, prevention of delivering foods and medicines and other essential needs of the civilian population… which falls within the framework of collective punishment as embodied in the continuation of the siege that is still going on. Within this context, the National Center for Human Rights draws attention to the Israeli practices in the occupied city of Jerusalem that target Jerusalem and the Jerusalemites in their cultural, social, economic and political existence. This coincides with the extremist onslaught of the (colonial) settlers against the noble Aqsa Mosque, the widening of the racist separation wall in order to include the ever-increasing Israeli colonial settlements in the occupied city, and the isolation of a number of the Arab-populated neighborhoods, the continuation of the excavations near the western and southwestern walls of the Aqsa Mosque which threatens its structure with collapse, the inhuman treatment of the prisoners, and the usurpation of the cultural heritage and the antiquities. All of these constitute violationS of the religious freedoms that are guaranteed by article (18) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and articles (2) (18) (20) (27) of the international covenant of civil and political rights, and the 1981 United Nations proclamation to eliminate all forms of fanaticism and discrimination on the basis of the difference of religion or belief, and the concluding document of the 1989 Vienna Conference, which all enhance the freedom of belief and worship. It also contradicts (19) international resolutions that consider Jerusalem an occupied territory on whom the principles of the international humanitarian law and the provisions of the 1949 Geneva Convention apply, regarding the protection of the civilians and the civil, religious and archaeological installations apply during war and under occupation.
The National Centre for Human Rights