Goldstone går i rette med egen rapport

Nina Hjerpset-Østlie

- Vi vet mye mer i dag om hva som hendte under Gaza­kri­gen i 2008-09 enn hva vi gjorde da jeg ledet FNs Men­neske­retts­råds gransk­nings­opp­drag som resul­terte i det som siden er blitt kjent som Goldstone-rapporten. Hvis jeg hadde visst da hva jeg vet nå, så ville Goldstone-rapporten blitt en annen, skri­ver rap­por­tens for­fat­ter Richard Golds­tone i en kro­nikk i Wash­ing­ton Post.

The final report by the U.N. com­mittee of inde­pen­dent experts — chai­red by for­mer New York judge Mary McGowan Davis — that followed up on the recom­men­da­tions of the Golds­tone Report has found that “Israel has dedi­cated sig­ni­fi­cant resources to investi­gate over 400 alle­ga­tions of ope­ra­tio­nal mis­con­duct in Gaza” while “the de facto aut­hori­ties (i.e., Hamas) have not con­ducted any investi­ga­tions into the laun­ching of rocket and mor­tar attacks against Israel.”

- Vår rap­port fant bevis for poten­si­elle krigs­for­bry­tel­ser og “muli­gens for­bry­tel­ser mot men­nes­ke­he­ten” begått av både Israel og Hamas. Det er unød­ven­dig å si at for­bry­tel­sene angi­ve­lig begått av Hamas var med over­legg - deres raket­ter ble med hen­sikt ret­tet mot sivile mål. Ankla­gene om over­legg fra Isra­els side var basert på død og ska­der blant sivile i situa­sjo­ner hvor våre grans­kere ikke hadde noen bevis for å dra noen andre, rime­lige kon­klu­sjo­ner, fort­set­ter Goldstone:

While the investi­ga­tions pub­lis­hed by the Israeli mili­tary and rec­og­nized in the U.N. committee’s report have estab­lis­hed the vali­dity of some inci­dents that we investi­ga­ted in cases invol­ving indi­vi­dual sol­di­ers, they also indi­cate that civi­li­ans were not inten­tio­nally targe­ted as a mat­ter of policy.

For example, the most serious attack the Golds­tone Report focu­sed on was the kil­ling of some 29 mem­bers of the al-Simouni family in their home. The shel­ling of the home was appa­rently the con­se­quence of an Israeli commander’s errone­ous inter­pre­ta­tion of a drone image, and an Israeli offi­cer is under investi­ga­tion for having orde­red the attack. While the length of this investi­ga­tion is frust­ra­ting, it appears that an appro­priate process is under­way, and I am con­fi­dent that if the offi­cer is found to have been neg­li­gent, Israel will respond accor­dingly. The pur­pose of these investi­ga­tions, as I have always said, is to ensure accoun­ta­bi­lity for imp­ro­per actions, not to second-guess, with the bene­fit of hind­sight, com­man­ders making dif­fi­cult battle­field decisions.

While I wel­come Israel’s investi­ga­tions into alle­ga­tions, I share the con­cerns reflected in the McGowan Davis report that few of Israel’s inqui­ries have been con­clu­ded and believe that the proce­e­dings should have been held in a pub­lic forum. Alt­hough the Israeli evi­dence that has emer­ged since pub­li­ca­tion of our report doesn’t negate the tra­gic loss of civi­lian life, I regret that our fact-finding mis­sion did not have such evi­dence expla­i­ning the cir­cums­tan­ces in which we said civi­li­ans in Gaza were targe­ted, because it pro­bably would have influ­en­ced our fin­dings about inten­tio­na­lity and war crimes.

Israel’s lack of coope­ra­tion with our investi­ga­tion meant that we were not able to cor­ro­bo­rate how many Gazans kil­led were civi­li­ans and how many were com­ba­tants. The Israeli military’s num­bers have tur­ned out to be simi­lar to those recently fur­nis­hed by Hamas (alt­hough Hamas may have rea­son to inflate the num­ber of its combatants).

Golds­tone skri­ver at han ønsket å sam­ar­beide med Israel, og at hans hen­sikt aldri var å bevise noen forut­inn­tatt kon­klu­sjon mot lan­det. I ste­det skal han ha end­ret Men­neske­retts­rå­dets opp­rin­ne­lige man­dat, som var vendt mot Israel. - Jeg hadde håpet at vår etter­forsk­ning av Gaza-konflikten skulle inn­lede en ny æra av rett­fer­dig behand­ling i FNs Men­neske­retts­råd, hvis his­to­rie av forut­inn­tatt­het mot Israel det ikke kan være tvil om, fort­set­ter han:

I have always been clear that Israel, like any other sover­eign nation, has the right and obli­ga­tion to defend itself and its citizens against attacks from abroad and wit­hin. Somet­hing that has not been rec­og­nized often enough is the fact that our report mar­ked the first time ille­gal acts of ter­ro­rism from Hamas were being investi­ga­ted and condemned by the Uni­ted Nations. I had hoped that our inquiry into all aspects of the Gaza con­flict would begin a new era of even­handed­ness at the U.N. Human Rights Coun­cil, whose his­tory of bias against Israel can­not be doubted.

Some have char­ged that the process we followed did not live up to judi­cial stan­dards. To be clear: Our mis­sion was in no way a judi­cial or even quasi-judicial proce­e­ding. We did not investi­gate cri­mi­nal con­duct on the part of any indi­vi­dual in Israel, Gaza or the West Bank. We made our recom­men­da­tions based on the record before us, which unfor­tu­nately did not include any evi­dence pro­vi­ded by the Israeli govern­ment. Indeed, our main recom­men­da­tion was for each party to investi­gate, trans­pa­rently and in good faith, the inci­dents referred to in our report. McGowan Davis has found that Israel has done this to a sig­ni­fi­cant degree; Hamas has done nothing.

Some have sug­ge­sted that it was absurd to expect Hamas, an orga­niza­tion that has a policy to destroy the state of Israel, to investi­gate what we said were serious war cri­mes. It was my hope, even if unrea­li­s­tic, that Hamas would do so, espec­ially if Israel con­ducted its own investi­ga­tions. At mini­mum I hoped that in the face of a clear fin­ding that its mem­bers were com­mit­ting serious war cri­mes, Hamas would cur­tail its attacks. Sadly, that has not been the case. Hund­reds more rock­ets and mor­tar rounds have been directed at civi­lian tar­gets in southern Israel. That com­pa­ra­tively few Israe­lis have been kil­led by the unlaw­ful rocket and mor­tar attacks from Gaza in no way mini­mizes the cri­mi­na­lity. The U.N. Human Rights Coun­cil should condemn these heinous acts in the stron­gest terms.

In the end, asking Hamas to investi­gate may have been a mis­ta­ken enter­prise. So, too, the Human Rights Coun­cil should condemn the inex­cusable and cold-blooded recent slaugh­ter of a young Israeli couple and three of their small child­ren in their beds.

I con­ti­nue to believe in the cause of estab­lish­ing and apply­ing inter­na­tio­nal law to pro­tracted and deadly con­flicts. Our report has led to numerous “les­sons learned” and policy chan­ges, inclu­ding the adop­tion of new Israel Defense For­ces proce­du­res for pro­tec­ting civi­li­ans in cases of urban war­fare and limi­ting the use of white phosphorus in civi­lian areas. The Pale­sti­nian Aut­hority estab­lis­hed an inde­pen­dent inquiry into our alle­ga­tions of human rights abu­ses — assas­si­na­tions, tor­ture and ille­gal deten­tions — per­pe­trated by Fatah in the West Bank, espec­ially against mem­bers of Hamas. Most of those alle­ga­tions were con­fir­med by this inquiry. Regrettably, there has been no effort by Hamas in Gaza to investi­gate the alle­ga­tions of its war cri­mes and pos­sible cri­mes against humanity.

- For å si det enkelt, lovene for væp­nede kon­flik­ter gjel­der ikke noe mindre for ikke-statlige aktø­rer som Hamas som de gjør for en nasjo­nal hær. Å sikre at ikke-statlige aktø­rer respek­te­rer disse prin­sip­pene, og at de vil bli etter­fors­ket hvis de ikke gjør det, er en av de bety­de­ligste utford­rin­gene for loven om væp­nede kon­flik­ter. Bare hvis alle par­tene i en væp­net kon­flikt blir holdt opp mot disse stan­dar­dene vil vi være i stand til å beskytte sivile som, uten å ha valgt det selv, blir fan­get i en krig, avslut­ter Goldstone.

Wash­ing­ton Post: Recon­si­de­ring the Golds­tone Report on Israel and war crimes




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