NGO: William Schabas must recuse himself from UN Gaza inquiry

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Aug. 12 Update: Clooney fiancee pulls out
of Gaza probe 
after protests over its bias 

Click here to see new Schabas TV interview
justifying his call to indict Netanyahu

GENEVA, Aug. 11 — A Geneva-based human rights group called on William Schabas to recuse himself from the UN’s new Gaza inquiry, saying that he is legally disqualified by prior statements expressing his wish to see Prime Minister Netanyahu and former President Shimon Peres indicted before the International Criminal Court.

“Under international law, William Schabas is obliged to recuse himself because his repeated calls to indict Israeli leaders obviously gives rise to actual bias or the appearance thereof,” said Hillel Neuer, an international lawyer and executive director of UN Watch, accredited to the United Nations as a non-governmental organization mandated to monitor the world’s body’s adherence to the UN Charter.

“You can’t spend several years calling for the prosecution of someone, and then suddenly act as his judge,” said Neuer. “It’s absurd — and a violation of the minimal rules of due process applicable to UN fact-finding missions.”

Egg on its face: Clooney fiancee contradicts UN story, denies being on probe

Contradicting the announcement of UN rights chief Navi Pillay’s office, Hollywood star George Clooney’s fiancee Amal Alamuddin denied ever accepting to be on the inquiry. UN Watch urged Pillay to explain the unprecedented situation, an embarrassment that has never happened before on any UNHRC inquiry.

Prior statements of Schabas demonstrating bias or appearance thereof:

UN Watch noted the following Schabas actions and statements:

– “My favorite would be Netanyahu within the dock of the International Criminal Court,” Schabas declared last year. (See video at 12:29)

– Schabas was an active participant before a pro-Palestinian “tribunal” that, according to a New York Times op-ed by Judge Richard Goldstone, consisted of one-sided evidence and a jury composed of “critics whose harsh views of Israel are well known.”

– In a law journal article, Schabas wrote that Netanyahu could be considered “the single individual most likely to threaten the survival of Israel.”

– A few years earlier, Schabas called for “going after” Israeli president Shimon Peres in the ICC, saying, “Why are we going after the president of Sudan for Darfur and not the president of Israel for Gaza?”

– In a 2009 blog post about the UN’s infamous Durban II conference on racism, Schabas urged the world not only to “ignore” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statements, but to stop “exaggerating”  them. According to Schabas, those who “deserve the blame” are “Israel and its friends, who have manipulated the truth about the nature of the work of the United Nations by gross exaggeration of the role and intervention of certain fanatics.” Schabas described Ahmadinejad as nothing more than a “provocative politician,” and not a torturer of dissidents, inciter of genocidal anti-Semitism, and arch-sponsor of terrorism.

– In 2011, Schabas went to Iran to co-sponsor conferences with the Tehran-based “Center for Human Rights and Cultural Diversity,” despite its intimate ties with the fundamentalist regime, and avowed propaganda agenda.  The center’s director, Kamran Hashemi, a former political officer with Iran’s foreign ministry, wrote his Ph.D under Schabas at the Irish Center for Human Rights.

EU: Resolution creating inquiry is “unbalanced, inaccurate, prejudicial”

In addition, UN Watch stressed that the entire July 23rd resolution creating the inquiry, sponsored by the Arab and Islamic states,  was “born in bias,” condemning Israel 18 times, yet never mentioning Hamas once.

The EU refused to support the resolution, saying it was “unbalanced, inaccurate, and prejudges the outcome of the investigation by making legal statements.”

The EU noted that the resolution “also fails to condemn explicitly the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israeli civilian areas as well as to recognize Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself.”

President Obama’s representative to the UNHRC, Ambassador Keith Harper, described the inquiry as “yet another one-sided mechanism targeting Israel.”

 

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