Contact Us

Former UN rights boss Navi Pillay to head probe into Israel's war crimes

Former UN rights chief will lead the ' open-ended inquiry into "systematic" abuses in and the Palestinian territories, it was announced on Thursday. The president of the UN said Pillay would lead a three-person investigation intended to scrutinise abuses and their "root causes" in the decades-long Middle East conflict.

Reuters WORLD
Published July 22,2021
Subscribe

Former United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay will head an international commission of inquiry into alleged crimes committed during the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, the U.N.'s Human Rights Council said in a statement on Thursday.

The council agreed in late May to launch the investigation with a broad mandate to probe all alleged violations, not just in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, but also in Israel during hostilities that were halted by a May 21 ceasefire.

At least 250 Palestinians and 13 people in Israel were killed in the fierce fighting, which saw Gaza fighters fire rockets towards Israeli cities and Israel carry out airstrikes across the coastal enclave.

Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the council at the time that deadly Israeli strikes on Gaza might constitute war crimes and that Hamas had violated international humanitarian law by firing rockets into Israel.

Israel rejected the resolution adopted by the Geneva forum at an emergency special session and said it would not cooperate.

Pillay, a former South African judge who served as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2008-2014, will lead the three-person panel also composed of Indian expert Miloon Kothari and Australian expert Chris Sidoti, said the statement issued by the Human Rights Council.

The investigators, who have been tasked with trying to identify those responsible for violations with a view to ensure they are held accountable, are due to present their first report in June 2022.