Gaza, UN ready to investigate crimes during conflict

UN Headquarters, New York UN Headquarters, New York Photo by Matthew TenBruggencate on Unsplash

27 May 2021

The UN Human Rights Council agreed to investigate alleged violations of international humanitarian law during the recent conflict between Israel and Palestine.

After weeks of unprecedented international pressure, and following the proposal by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (CIO) and the Palestinian Delegation to the UN, the UN Human Rights Council agreed to set up a Commission of Inquiry in order to investigate alleged war crimes by Israel and Palestine in Israeli territory, the Occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. The main tasks of the Commission of Inquiry are fact-finding and evidence-gathering for the purpose of starting legal proceedings. However, although the Commission does not have any sentencing powers, it constitutes an important first step in addressing the root causes of the conflict.

The investigation will focus on the 11-day clashes that started on 10 May 2021, after weeks of tensions following the forced eviction of Palestinian families in occupied East Jerusalem. Palestinian protests prompted the Israeli forces to conduct an air raid on Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Palestinian forces in Gaza responded with firing of rockets into Israel, sparking an Israeli military offensive in Gaza. According to the Gaza health minister, 254 people lost their lives on the Palestinian side, 66 of whom were children. On the Israeli side, 12 people were killed by Palestinian rockets. The Commission of Inquiry will investigate whether the indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian objects were conducted in a disproportionate manner and thus, if they amount to war crimes according to international humanitarian law.

While Palestinian authorities welcomed the resolution, Israeli prime minister Netanyahu condemned it as a discriminatory act against Israel. Backing Israel’s position, the US also expressed deep regret after the adoption of the resolution.


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Author: Martina Apicella; Editor; Aleksandra Krol

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