23 June 2015
The fingerprints of Israel-phobic UN Human Rights Council staffers are evident throughout the report into last year’s conflict in Gaza issued today by that body’s supposedly ‘Independent Commission of Inquiry’. Under a wafer-thin patina of legalese and diplomatic jargon, this document is damned by the oh-so-typical bias and bigotry against Israel that has rendered the UNHRC notorious over recent decades. Commissioners Mary McGowan Davis and DouDou Diène have irrevocably besmirched their legal reputations by allowing their names to be associated with such an unscrupulously prejudiced process.
A cursory reading of the Commission’s Report reveals the following egregious offences against the principles of objectivity, equity and impartiality:
The Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions (Protocol I) is a thoroughly politicised document that was negotiated at the height of the Cold War in 1977. Delegates to the treaty conference from the Soviet Bloc and Third World were insistent that the Protocol must incorporate provisions that benefit guerrilla irregulars fighting against conventional armed forces. As a result, Protocol I deviated so sharply from the existing law of armed conflict that both Israel and the United States declined to ratify it. And other western nations that did agree become states party – e.g. Britain, France and Germany – were careful to make their ratification contingent upon statements of reservation that severely constrained the application Protocol I’s most problematic provisions.
The blatantly politicised character of Protocol I precluded this treaty from attaining the status of jus cogens in international law. Jus cogens are norms of state behavior that have become so universally accepted throughout the international community that they’re considered binding even on nations that never formally signed on to them. As a less-than jus cogens international agreement, Protocol I thus imposes no obligation upon non-party nations like Israel and the United States. Yet the Commission nonetheless sees fit to make the farcical argument that the provisions of this treaty nonetheless apply to the IDF.
With this statement the Commission turns a Nelsonian blind eye to abundant video evidence publicly available from the international press that documents Palestinian rocket fire in close proximity to UN and medical facilities.
And like a dog returning to its vomit, the Commission can’t resist the temptation to cast the onus of guilt for Palestinian war crimes on the UN’s usual and favourite suspect:
These are just a few of the discrepancies and deficiencies in the UNHRC’s report that leap out at first glance. We are confident that a more in-depth assessment of this flawed document will reveal many more.