Amnesty puts Ban Ki-Moon in the dock for his statement that 'no determination can be made' concerning war crimes in Gaza
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s failure to make an assessment of Israeli and Palestinian investigations into violations of international law during the conflict in Gaza and southern Israel a year ago is deeply disappointing and a missed opportunity to help secure accountability for the conflict’s hundreds of victims, said Amnesty International today.
In a report dated 4 February, Ban Ki-moon indicated that “no determination can be made” on whether either the Israelis or Palestinians had implemented UN General Assembly resolution 64/10 of 5 November 2009. The Secretary-General merely passed the Israeli and Palestinian responses he had received to members of the General Assembly without an assessment of whether the parties had met the required standards. The resolution had urged both sides to carry out investigations “that are independent, credible and in conformity with international standards” and requested the Secretary-General to report within three months on their implementation, “with a view to considering further action”.
The Secretary-General explained his lack of action by the fact that “processes initiated” by the Israeli and Palestinian authorities were “ongoing”. However, Amnesty believes that the information he had received was sufficient to show clearly that the steps taken by both sides have been completely inadequate and that this message should have been conveyed to them in the report.
Amnesty urges the UN Secretary-General to remedy the situation by immediately preparing an independent assessment of the steps being taken by Israel and the Palestinian side to address accountability. He should request input from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and consider appointing other independent experts in international humanitarian and human rights law to assist him in this task. Amnesty wrote to Ban Ki-moon on 20 November 2009 with a similar recommendation.