U.N. Goldstone inquiry rejects ‘so-called petition of UN Watch’; denies mission is quasi-judicial

Following  is the August 25, 2009 statement sent by the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict to The Jewish Chronicle of London, in response to UN Watch’s legal brief demanding the disqualification of Christine Chinkin:

“The allegation by UN Watch that Professor Christine Chinkin is disqualified from being a member of the UN Fact Finding Mission is based solely on the contents of a public letter published on 11 January 2009 in the London Sunday Times. The letter condemns in clear terms the firing of rockets by Hamas and suicide bombings. It also states that the military attacks by Israel were unlawful and contrary to the provisions of international law and, in particular, the Charter of the United Nations. More specifically, the signatories to the letter state that the response by Israel was not commensurate with the deaths caused by the Hamas rocket fire. A copy of the letter is attached.

Whether the Israeli military response was justified is not an issue that falls within the mandate of the Fact Finding Mission. The investigation by the Mission has related solely to the commission of violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. More specifically, it has investigated whether Israel, Hamas or the Palestinian Authority have committed violations of those laws and by so doing unnecessarily caused death or injury to innocent civilians. In other words, it is specific acts of armed conflict that fall within the Mission’s mandate. On those issues the letter co-signed by Professor Chinkin expressef no view at all.

The so-called petition of UN Watch is based on legal precedents that apply to judicial proceedings. The Fact Finding Mission cannot in any way be considered a judicial or even a quasi-judicial proceeding.

In all the circumstances, the members of the Fact Finding Mission consider the attack by UN Watch to be misplaced and it is rejected by them.”

Francesca Marotta
Head of the Secretariat
UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict
UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Geneva, August, 25, 2009

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