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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Goldstone Commission's neutrality challenged by lawyers

UN Watch is reporting that the neutrality of the Goldstone Commission, which is looking into reports of Israeli 'war crimes' during Operation Cast Lead, is being challenged by British and Canadian lawyers.
In submissions filed separately from both countries, prominent attorneys from law firms and human rights organizations in Great Britain and Canada are challenging the U.N.’s rejection of a request that Chinkin be disqualified due to her January condemnation of Israel on the very disputed issues that the inquiry is meant to impartially examine.

In early May, UN Watch, a Geneva non-governmental organization that monitors the world body’s human rights system, appeared before the U.N. panel to urge Goldstone and the other members to disqualify Chinkin, invoking “the impartiality principle that Goldstone promised to uphold,” and “the due process requirements of morality, logic and international law.”

Despite the NGO’s filing of legal briefs in July and August, as reported by Agence France Presse and Deutsche Presse Agentur, the Goldstone mission waited until recently to respond, summarily rejecting the petition. UN Watch’s appeal last week to the new president of the Human Rights Council, Belgian ambassador Alex van Meeuwen, received no response. The team of 50 lawyers has now launched a direct appeal to Chinkin that she step down.

In an August interview with South Africa’s Business Day, Goldstone admitted that “If it had been a judicial inquiry, that letter [Chinkin] signed would have been a ground for disqualification.”

According to Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, “Goldstone’s implied argument that his inquiry is somehow exempt from the impartiality rule simply defies logic, morality and established international law. At the same time, Goldstone’s effective admission that his report is the product of something other than an impartial panel seriously calls into question the legal possibility of attributing any evidentiary weight or credibility to their report.”

Apart from Chinkin, the other three members of the panel — Goldstone, Hina Jilani, and Desmond Travers — also implied Israeli guilt prior to their seeing any evidence, declaring in March that “The events in Gaza have shocked us to the core.”
UN Watch follows up by publishing the letters. I've seen the British one; the Canadian one is new (and from a quick glance at the names, I know at least one of the lawyers there).

If any of you knows of a group of New York or Israeli lawyers forming to submit a similar letter, please put them in touch with me. I am admitted in both of those jurisdictions.

UN Watch also reports that the United States and 'western countries' will prevent the Goldstone report from being used to impose sanctions on Israel. While that may be possible, the question is at what price. Everything Israel gets from the Obama administration seems to have a price tag attached to it.


At 9:42 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The Goldstone Commission's report would not hold up in a court of law or any other place that had to examine the facts impartially. It is disqualified both by the terms of its reference that condemned Israel in advance and the unwillingness of its members to give Israel a fair hearing. Those are the reasons the Israeli government refused to cooperate with it in its work.

At 11:26 AM, Blogger Chrysler 300M said...

it´s a shame, how this intelligent person makes himslf the alibi jew for the haters and murderers


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