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Monday, September 29, 2014

A betrayal of international criminal law

In a JPost op-ed, Mordechai Kremnitzer, vice president of research at the Israel Democracy Institute and former dean of the Law Faculty at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, explains how the commission of inquiry into Operation Protective Edge established by the UN's 'human rights council' (sorry guys - I cannot type that terms without scare quotes and lower case - it's just such a farce), headed by the implacably biased William Schabas, is betraying the cause of international criminal law.
The body that established a committee to investigate suspected war crimes – the UN Human Rights Council – has a reputation for singling out Israel. The committee it appointed is suspected in advance of not having the pursuit of truth as its goal. What is more, even the resolution that set up the committee was worded in a way that suggests “sentence first, verdict afterwards.”

This suspicion is only augmented by the fact that its members do not include a single citizen of the country whose military conduct is the focus of its inquiry - even though Israel has no shortage of retired judges and jurists of international repute. The damage to the inquiry is redoubled when its chair has already declared his desire to see the prime minister of Israel in the dock at the International Court of Justice - that is, the committee’s chair has already formed a negative judgment about the head of the political system that oversees the military whose conduct is to be investigated. He cannot be perceived as an unbiased investigator.

These circumstances guarantee that Israel will find it very difficult to cooperate with a committee that can by no means be seen as objective and fair minded. Even Israeli civil rights organizations - whose role is to be critical of and a check on Israeli government actions - will not be able to see the committee as anything but a kangaroo court. The result is that the inquiry will rely on the narrative of only one side - Hamas.

The partiality of the inquiry will inevitably lead to biased findings devoid of real value. The conclusions based on these findings, too, will necessarily be worthless, as happened with the Goldstone Commission. Such a report will only undermine the credibility of international criminal law.

The committee’s chair has stated that Israel would have been against it even were his place taken by the web-slinging superhero Spiderman.

This defames the Israeli people.

Read the whole thing.

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