Published by: Al-Haq
The Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Council (PHROC) condemns in the strongest terms Israel’s latest and unfortunately, far too common attempt to obstruct the work of international human rights and justice mechanisms in investigating Israeli violations of international law against the Palestinian population. The latest charade put up by Israel is an attempt to undermine an investigative report that will be published in March by a UN-established Commission of Inquiry looking into violations of international law carried out in occupied Palestine relative to military operations that took place from 13 June 2014 (the Commission). In this attempt, Israel seeks to cover up crimes committed against the Palestinian people last summer by accusing the Chairperson of the Commission, Professor William Schabas, of bias. The accusations are based on a legal opinion that Schabas had provided for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 2012. This legal opinion, the existence of which had been fully disclosed to the President of the Human Rights Council (HRC), was one of many that he had produced in his capacity as a renowned expert on international criminal law for different states and organizations over the years.
Professor Schabas made the decision to resign, in an effort to prevent the findings from being overshadowed by the Israeli allegations, which are a clear and disingenuous attempt to discredit the report of the Commission. The Commission will present its report at the upcoming HRC session in March and will provide strong legal argumentation, supported by hundreds of documented cases to show that Israel may have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, and committed grave breaches of international humanitarian law last summer in occupied Palestine. While PHROC commends the Commission and its continued work, it is extremely disappointed that the HRC has allowed Israel to monopolise its work and decisions.