Archive for the 'William Schabas' Category

VIDEO: UN Watch argues before UNHRC plenary: “Only remedy is Schabas’ recusal”

Testimony by UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer before the UN Human Rights Council, September 23, 2014

Mr. President, we gather at a perilous moment in world affairs. International borders are trampled and dissolved before our eyes, masses are killed and exiled, atrocities are celebrated. The need to appeal to and affirm basic principles of international law and human rights has, perhaps, never been greater.

And so today, with the UN Watch legal brief that has been circulated before you, and before all of the distinguished representatives of this chamber—in the form of UN document NGO/112, which has been placed on the agenda of today’s debate—the community of international law has an opportunity, and a choice. It can choose to speak out to defend the international rule of law, or allow it to be trampled and dissolved.

Last Wednesday, I was invited to meet the commission of inquiry on Gaza, appointed by this council. I informed the chair, Professor William Schabas, that we would be presenting today’s legal brief. It recalls that the international rule of law requires UN fact-finders to be impartial, and to be seen as impartial.

I told him that while we respected his academic accomplishments, he is legally obliged to recuse himself on account of his prior statements and actions that give rise to the appearance of bias. Continue reading ‘VIDEO: UN Watch argues before UNHRC plenary: “Only remedy is Schabas’ recusal”’

Exclusive: Schabas’ own colleague, human rights icon Aryeh Neier, calls for him to quit UN Gaza probe due to prior statements

GENEVA, September 30 – A top figure in the human rights world has called for William Schabas to “recuse himself” from the new UN probe on Gaza, undermining Schabas’ claim that the only people who believe he should go are critics of the UN.

The statement was made last week by Aryeh Neier, founding director of Human Rights Watch, former head of the ACLU, and President Emeritus of George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, and revealed today in a Wall Street Journal interview with UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.

In a lecture at the SciencesPo Paris School of International Affairs, where Neier teaches together with Schabas, the former said that commissions of inquiry are one of the few good things to come out of the UN Human Rights Council.

Turning to Schabas, Neier called him a well known and leading scholar. However, given Schabas’ statement on bringing Netanyahu to ICC, Neier said that “Schabas should recuse himself.”

Neier said that “any judge who had previously called for the indictment of the defendant would recuse himself.”

Schabas’ appointment gives Israel a perfect excuse to denounce the UN commission of inquiry, said Neier. “Why make it so easy for Israel to do so?” he asked.

Neier went on to say that the sheer quantity of resolutions against Israel at the UN Human Rights Council gives Israel the ability to cast the HRC as “anti-Israel” and therefore to “justify its own rejections of the HRC.”

The revelation comes one day after a similar call by Mordechai Kremnitzer, a top Israeli legal scholar who serves on the Public Council of the human rights group B’Tselem.

“The damage to the inquiry is redoubled when its chair has already declared his desire to see the prime minister of Israel in the dock at the International Court of Justice,” wrote Kremnitzer in an op-ed. “He cannot be perceived as an unbiased investigator.”

When William Schabas was convicted in 1974, he tried to disqualify the judges for bias

Although William Schabas has mocked calls by eminent jurists for him to step down from the UN’s Gaza inquiry on account of bias — refusing to provide any legal response, instead telling an Arab newspaper that “even if Spider-Man were appointed to head the commission they would attack him — when he himself was once in the dock, Schabas tried to evade conviction by accusing all members of the tribunal with bias.

In 1974, when Schabas was a Ph.D. student in history at the University of Toronto, and a leader in the radical SDS group, he was charged and convicted with violating human rights and freedoms by physically obstructing a visiting Harvard professor from speaking on campus.

Schabas was found guilty on four charges and suspended from the university for four years, later reduced to two.

Interviewed about the episode in 2003, Schabas was “unrepentant about the incident,” reported Toronto Star literary critic Philip Marchand (“Monsters deserve to have their say, too,” Toronto Star, Feb. 1, 2003.)

“Human rights takes the view that speech that promotes hate should be prohibited by law,” said Schabas. “My view hasn’t changed one iota on that.”

Schabas’ actions marked a turning point in Canadian academic culture, according to Marchand, setting a negative precedent for “political correctness and ideological bullying,” and putting an end to “a genuinely adventurous spirit on university campuses.” The episode paved the way to “a pervasive culture of belligerent complaint allied to whining self-righteousness.”

Continue reading ‘When William Schabas was convicted in 1974, he tried to disqualify the judges for bias’

UN names Mary McGowan Davis to Schabas Commission on Gaza


UN press release follows below.

25 August 2014


Geneva, 25 August 2014 — The President of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Ambassador Baudelaire Ndong Ella (Gabon), today announced the appointment of Mary McGowan Davis as an additional member of the Commission of Inquiry charged with investigating human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in particular the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014.  Justice McGowan Davis will join William Schabas and Doudou Diène whose appointments were announced by the Council President on 11 August.

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry was established by the Council through resolution S-21/1 adopted at its special session on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory on 23 July 2014.  As mandated by the Human Rights Council, the Commission of Inquiry will investigate all violations of international human rights and humanitarian law since the current military operations began in mid-June.

In carrying out its work, the Commission of Inquiry will aim to establish the facts and circumstances of human rights violations and crimes perpetrated in order to identify those responsible.  The Council also requested that the Commission of Inquiry present a written report to the Human Rights Council at its twenty-eighth session in March 2015.

The President of the Human Rights Council is continuing to hold consultations in order to find ways to further strengthen the Commission of Inquiry in its work.

Biographies of the members of the Commission of Inquiry

Mary McGowan Davis (United States of America) served as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York and as a federal prosecutor during the course of a 24-year career in the criminal justice sector in New York City. She also has extensive experience in the fields of international human rights law and transitional justice. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association for the International Commission of Jurists and the International Judicial Academy, and serves on the Managerial Board of the International Association of Women Judges. Justice McGowan Davis also served as a member and then Chair of the UN Committee of Independent Experts tasked with following up on the findings of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza conflict occurring between December 2008 and January 2009.

Doudou Diène (Senegal) was the United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance from 2002 to 2008 and the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire from 2011 to 2014. Mr. Diène holds a doctorate in public law from the University of Paris law degree from the University of Caen (France).

William Schabas (Canada) is professor of international law at Middlesex University in London. He is also professor of international criminal law and human rights at Leiden University as well as emeritus professor human rights law at the Irish Centre for Human Rights of the National University of Ireland Galway. From 2002 to 2004, he served as one of three international members of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Mr. Schabas was also a member and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in Human Rights and has drafted the 2010 report of the Secretary-General on the status of the death penalty.

EXPOSED: UN’s biased Bill Schabas attacks Israeli PM >> VIDEO


For numerous other examples of his bias, click here.

NGO: William Schabas must recuse himself from UN Gaza inquiry


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. Continue reading ‘NGO: William Schabas must recuse himself from UN Gaza inquiry’

UN gathers legal experts to plan campaign against Israel


A UN committee on Palestinian rights today wrapped up a 2-day conference in Geneva where legal experts and a Palestinian cabinet minister exchanged plans on waging a legal campaign against Israel in international courts and organizations.

Speakers at the “Roundtable on Legal Aspects of the Question of Palestine,” included top UN officials in Geneva; Issa Qaraqe, the Palestinian Authority Minister for Prisoners’ Affairs, who made the outrageous allegation that Israeli pharmaceutical companies conducted experiments on over 1,000 Palestinian detainees; and pro-Iranian law professor William Schabas, who recently participated in the “Russell Tribunal,” a kangaroo court against Israel.

The gathering was organized by the UN’s “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.”

The 25-nation committee was created in November 1975, on the same day that the General Assembly adopted the notorious Zionism is Racism resolution.

According to the program, they met to discuss “the legal status of Palestinian political prisoners and detainees under international law,” and “the general legal implications of Palestine’s admission to the United Nations as an Observer State.”

However, behind this façade, the meeting was in reality a gathering to promote lawfare and the global campaign of BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) against Israel, under the seemingly neutral auspices of the UN.

Delegates discussed how to pressure corporations to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel in a  session entitled “Available legal mechanisms to ensure compliance with international law and Third Party responsibility.”

A related session focused on how to use the International Court of Justice.  During the part entitled “The State of Palestine and International Courts,” delegates examined how to file complaints against Israel in international courts.

Finally, delegates discussed the Palestinian drive for full membership at the UN, and membership in UN specialized agencies and other global organizations.

Mr. Qaraqe made several recommendations, including that:

  • The General Assembly should set up a special court to examine crimes by Israel against Palestinian prisoners;
  • An advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice should be sought on the status of Palestinian prisoners in international law;
  • Creation of a fact-finding mission composed of 15 members of the Geneva Conventions to investigate the situation of Palestinian prisoners.

Palestine’s possible accession to the Rome Statute should further be considered as a step towards prosecuting Israel for crimes against Palestinian prisoners, the Ramallah politician added.

Correction: On William Schabas and Richard Goldstone

UN Watch’s recent briefing listed international law scholar William Schabas among those who had hailed Richard Goldstone as a saint after his UN report, only to turn on him when he retracted it.

In response, Professor Schabas states as follows: “I have never turned on my good friend Richard Goldstone, ‘with a vengeance’ or otherwise.” We have corrected the briefing and regret the error.

Indeed, a closer examination shows the  following. After the Goldstone Report was published, Schabas proclaimed that Goldstone “had better be on next year’s Nobel short list.” Schabas also shared his belief, on the same occasion, that Goldstone’s act of condemning alleged Israeli war crimes was performed “as a Jew.” “The world should be thankful that we have people like Richard Goldstone,” said Schabas. Continue reading ‘Correction: On William Schabas and Richard Goldstone’

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