Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Israel committed war crimes in Gaza

That's the conclusion of the UN Human Rights Council's fact-finding mission. Israeli forces used disproportionate force, imposed a blockade which amounted to collective punishment, and deliberately targeted the civilian population. Their military operations were

carefully planned in all their phases as a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorise a civilian population.
The mission's leader, South African judge Richard Goldstone, concluded that these actions amounted to "war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity". The same charge is levelled at Palestinian groups for deliberately attacking civilian targets.

In both cases, Goldstone recommends that the Security Council require both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to investigate these crimes, and report in six months about their progress. If they do not come up to scratch - if crimes are denied or whitewashed, and if there is no serious investigation and good-faith prosecution - then the relevant parties should be referred to the International Criminal Court. Its a sensible solution. The way to end war crimes is to end impunity for war criminals. If these countries will not enforce international (and their own) law, then the international community will have to do it for them.