Friday, March 20, 2009
"The United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories has said Israel's military offensive on Gaza "would seem to constitute a war crime of the greatest magnitude under international law".
Richard Falk calls the Israeli attacks a "massive assault on a densely populated urbanised setting", with the civilian population subjected to "an inhumane form of warfare that kills, maims and inflicts mental harm".
His findings were written in a report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday.....
Criminal tribunal urged
Falk suggested the UN Security Council might set up an ad hoc criminal tribunal to establish accountability for war crimes in Gaza, noting Israel has not signed the Rome statutes establishing the International Criminal Court.
He was refused entry into Israel two weeks before the offensive started, preventing him from a planned mission to Gaza. In the report, he said the refusal had set an "unfortunate precedent" for treatment of a special rapporteur.
Speaking to Al Jazeera from Santa Barbara, California, Falk said he is not optimistic that his report will lead to concrete action.
"There is a lack of political will on the part of several major governments," he said.
"There has all along been a pervasive double standard with respect to the implementation of international criminal law.
"It has been applied to non-Western countries in the south and has exempted actors associated with Europe, North America and, generally, the north."......"