September 15, 2009, New York – In response to today’s release of a report by an independent Fact Finding Mission established by the United Nations Human Rights Council on the December 2008 - January 2009 conflict in Gaza, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement:
After a comprehensive investigation into international law violations committed in the context of military operations in Gaza in December 2008-January 2009, a well-respected Mission led by Justice Richard Goldstone of South Africa found evidence of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. To ensure justice and prevent impunity, the Mission’s sound recommendations must be carried out by the international community. As recommended by the Mission, the Security Council should refer the situation in Gaza to the International Criminal Court for investigation and prosecution in the absence of adequate domestic investigations. As also suggested, all states parties to the Geneva Conventions, including the United States, are obligated to criminally investigate grave breaches.
The 575-page report found that during the December-January conflict, more than 1400 people were killed, civilians were deliberately targeted, and houses, schools, hospitals, factories, wells, police stations, an ambulance depot, and other public buildings were destroyed. The Mission observed that the December-January conflict was preceded by an Israeli blockade of Gaza, which it found to amount to collective punishment, and that reconstruction has been impossible due to the continuing blockade. The perpetrators of the serious violations of international law detailed in the report must be held accountable and the victims provided reparations and justice. The U.S. and other members of the Security Council can only, and indeed must, endorse the sound recommendations of this report.
CCR is a member organization of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). See FIDH's page on Accountability and Impunity in Israel & the Occupied Territories for background information on various reports published by inter-governmental, regional or international organizations and NGO’s on the Gaza conflict. For further information, read the UN Mission's Report.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.