Former UN human rights chief to head probe of alleged crimes in Israel-Hamas conflict

Former UN human rights chief to head probe of alleged crimes in Israel-Hamas conflict
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The U.N. Human Rights Council on Thursday announced that former UN Rights chief Navi Pillay will chair a three-person commission investigating “alleged violations and abuses” in Israel and Israeli-occupied territory.

According to The Associated Press, the commission was set up following the latest conflict in May between the militant group Hamas and Israel, which lasted 11 days. Reuters reported that at least 13 Israelis and 250 Palestinians were killed during the conflict.

Pillay, who was a former judge on the South African High Court, was the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2008 to 2014. 

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The additional members on the commission include Miloon Kothari, a former UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, and Chris Sidoti, founder and an international expert of the Special Advisory Council for Myanmar.

According to a joint resolution that the UN rights body adopted in May, the commission will investigate “all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up to and since 13 April 2021.” 

Additionally, the resolution says that the commission will be set up to investigate “all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity.”

A report will be submitted by commission to the council in June of next year, followed by one every year, AP noted.

According to Reuters, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has said that the Israeli strikes that proved deadly in Gaza may be considered war crimes. Additionally, she said that international humanitarian law have been violated by Hamas after rockets were fired into Israel.

Israel has been critical of the commission and claims that the Human Rights Council is biased against Israel, AP noted.