India votes in favour of Goldstone report



United Nations: India has voted in favour of a UN resolution endorsing the Goldstone report that requires Israel and Palestine to investigate war crimes in the Gaza Strip, after initially expressing reservations about it.

Expressing support for the resolution, Indian Deputy Envoy to the United Nations, Manjeev Singh Puri told reporters, "Our commitment to the Palestinian cause is complete."

Puri, however, noted that India could not make an "unqualified endorsement". "We do not approve of the referral to the Security Council and the ICC," he said.

The 192-member world body approved the resolution by a vote of 114-18, with 44 abstentions and 16 countries not voting.

India had maintained that the report should have addressed its recommendations solely to the Human Rights Council in Geneva and not to other UN institutions, including the Security Council.

The main recommendation of the report is for the Security Council to require Israel and Palestinian authority to report within six months on domestic prosecutions it carries.

If the two governments fail in this task, the UNSC should refer the matter to the prosecutor of International Criminal Court (ICC), says the report.

While supporting independent investigations by both sides, Puri said "our vote should not be construed as endorsing referrals to the International Criminal Court and United Nations Security Council."

Prepared by the UN Fact Finding Mission, headed by South African judge Richard Goldstone, the report accuses both Hamas and Israeli forces of war crimes in the Gaza strip from December, 2008 to January this year. The fate of the resolution in the Security Council is uncertain with the US, which had previously called the report "one-sided" and "biased", voting against it. Among the other four permanent members China voted 'yes' while the UK, France and Russia abstained from voting.

Earlier, Israel had voiced against the report which it termed as one "conceived in hate and executed in sin".

"The report before you was conceived in hate and executed in sin. From its inception in a one-sided mandate, the Gaza fact-finding mission was a politicised body with predetermined conclusions." Israel's envoy to the UN, Gabriela Shalev had said at the General Assembly.

Bureau Report