Israel, Hamas probes on Gaza violations inadequate: UN

Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas failed to carry out credible and adequate probes into claims of war crimes committed during the conflict in Gaza nearly two years ago, a UN committee said on Tuesday.

Geneva: Israel and the Palestinian group
Hamas failed to carry out credible and adequate probes into
claims of war crimes committed during the conflict in Gaza
nearly two years ago, a UN committee said on Tuesday.

"The investigations... remain incomplete in some cases
or fall significantly short of meeting international standards
in others," said the chair of the UN committee of independent
experts, Christian Tomuschat, in a statement.
Israel had flatly refused to cooperate with the
committee appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to examine
the progress of investigations by all parties in the war which
left some 1,400 Palestinians dead and 13 Israelis.

The mission was set up after a UN-mandated report by
South African judge Richard Goldstone accused both Israel and
Palestinian groups of war crimes during the three-week
conflict which erupted in late December 2008.

Today, the committee of three experts concluded that
Israel has to date failed to cover all allegations of
violations covered by the Goldstone report.

Israel neither investigated the role of its leaders
nor claims of violations which occurred in the occupied West
Bank during the same period.
"Israel conducted investigations into many incidents,
but only four resulted in criminal indictments, one of which
led to a conviction for a credit card theft," noted Tomuschat.

"There were also concerns about whether the inquiries
met standards of impartiality," added the committee, which is
due to present their findings to the UN Human Rights Council
on September 27.

The committee`s report likewise criticised two probes
conducted by radical Islamists of Hamas, which governs the
Gaza Strip, saying that the first "made no serious effort to
address the allegations raised by" Goldstone`s mission.

"The second body provided information on measures
taken to redress violations in the Gaza Strip, but failed to
substantiate assertions that political prisoners had been
released and criminal prosecutions had taken place," the
committee added.

Only the Palestinian Authority had set up
investigations that met international standards, assessed the
committee.

However, its lack of access to Gaza did not allow it
to conduct a full probe of allegations, noted the committee.

PTI

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