Navi Pillay will lead an investigation into ‘systematic’ abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in Israel.
Former UN rights chief Navi Pillay will lead an open UN investigation into “systematic” abuses in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, it has been announced.
The president of the UN Human Rights Council said Thursday that Pillay will lead an investigation into three people intended to scrutinize the abuse and its “root causes” in the conflict over decades in the Middle East.
U the probe was fired during a special council session focused on the rise in deadly violence between Israelis and Palestinians in May.
A commission of inquiry (COI) is the highest-level inquiry that can be ordered by the Human Rights Council.
The Geneva council held a special session on 27 May.
It decided to establish an ongoing independent international commission of inquiry to investigate “all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law” in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including Occupied East Jerusalem.
The commission was tasked with investigating “all root causes underlying recurrent tensions, instability and protracted conflicts, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity.”
Commissioners were asked to come up with facts and circumstances surrounding the violations and identify those responsible “in order to ensure that the perpetrators of violations are held accountable”.
While the council has previously ordered eight investigations into rights violations committed in the occupied Palestinian territories, this is the first with a mandate to examine “the root causes” and to investigate systematic abuses.
The IOC is destined to report to the Human Rights Council every year from June 2022.
This commission is the first IOC open at all times – others like the one in Syria need their mandates renewed every year.
The news follows a ceasefire announced on May 21 after at least 250 Palestinians and 13 people in Israel were killed in fierce fighting, which saw Israel carry out airstrikes through the besieged enclave and Palestinian fighters in Gaza fired rockets at and Israeli cities.
Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the council at the time that deadly Israeli strikes in Gaza could constitute war crimes and that Hamas – the Palestinian group that governs Gaza – had violated. international humanitarian law wreaking havoc on Israel.
Israel rejected the resolution adopted by the Geneva forum in a special emergency session and said it would not cooperate.
Pillay, a former South African judge, served as UN commissioner for human rights from 2008 to 2014.
She will be accompanied by Miloon Kothari of India, the UN’s first special rapporteur on adequate housing, and Australian international human rights law expert Chris Sidoti.