On 25 July, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), appointed a three-member legal panel to conduct a war crimes probe into alleged Israeli human rights violation on the Gaza border that began on March 30. The panel, according to UNHRC, includes legal experts David Michael Crane of the US, Sara Hossain of Bangladesh, and Kaari Betty Murungi of Kenya.
In May, the UNHRC held a special session in which it mandated the creation of international commission of inquiry to “investigate all alleged violations and abuses of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military assaults on the large-scale civilian protests that began on 30 March 2018”. The resolution to urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry was finally backed on 20 July. While the US and Australia voted against, twenty-nine members of the council voted for, and 14 members abstained.
Among the three members of the panel, Crane, now a teacher at Syracuse University College of Law, served as the Chief Prosecutor to the Special Court for Sierra Leone from April 2002 to 2005. Barrister Sara Hossain is an Advocate at the Supreme Court of Bangladesh and has worked with the UNHRC Special Rapporteur on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.Murungi was a legal adviser for gender- related crimes for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and was vice chairperson and commissioner to the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation commission of Kenya. She is on the boards of the boards of the Kenya Human Rights Commission and the Women's Initiative for Gender Justice at the International Criminal Court.
The panel is tasked with looking at violations that could amount to war crimes, and to identify those who are in fact responsible. It has also been asked to look for ways to end impunity and to ensure “legal accountability” including against individuals. The legal panel is expected to orally update the UNHRC at its 39th session in September, and to present its final report at the 40th session in March 2019.
Compiled by Law Desk (SOURCE: JERUSALEM POST)