BEIRUT

Middle East

Ex-New York judge appointed to U.N. Gaza investigation

Palestinians walk amid the rubble of the Omar Ibn Abdul Aziz mosque after it was hit by an Israeli strike in Gaza City, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

GENEVA: Former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis was appointed Monday to a U.N. commission probing Israel’s Gaza offensive and the actions of Hamas, the world body’s Human Rights Council said.

The move comes after Lebanese-born British lawyer Amal Alamuddin turned down her nomination citing existing commitments.

McGowan Davis is likely to prove a controversial choice for Israel, having served on a previous team that investigated a 2008-09 offensive and whose findings were rejected by Israel.

The U.N. Human Rights Council ordered the Gaza investigation last month, in the face of fierce opposition from Israel and the U.S.

The decision came during a marathon seven-hour emergency session of the 47-nation council, where Israeli and Palestinians delegates accused the other side of war crimes.

The probe team was set up under a resolution lodged by Palestine, which has observer status at the council, but U.N. officials say its goal is to address all violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Gaza, regardless of which side is involved.

“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 said Monday.

Israel has denounced the probe as slanted against it – echoing its criticism of previous U.N. investigations.

An acting justice on the supreme court of the state of New York from 1986 to 1998, McGowan Davis is a renowned expert on transitional justice and human rights law.

In 2004 and 2005, she worked in Afghanistan’s public defenders’ office, and has also been involved in war crimes justice projects in Sierra Leone, Cambodia and Rwanda.

The Gaza commission is being led by Canadian international lawyer William Schabas, and includes Doudou Diene of Senegal, who has previously served as the U.N.’s watchdog on racism and on post-conflict Ivory Coast. They have been tasked with reporting back to the council by March.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 26, 2014, on page 9.

Recommended

Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

Alert: If you are facing problems with posting comments, please note that you must verify your email with Disqus prior to posting a comment. follow this link to make sure your account meets the requirements. (http://bit.ly/vDisqus)

comments powered by Disqus
Summary

Former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis was appointed Monday to a U.N. commission probing Israel's Gaza offensive and the actions of Hamas, the world body's Human Rights Council said.

McGowan Davis is likely to prove a controversial choice for Israel, having served on a previous team that investigated a 2008-09 offensive and whose findings were rejected by Israel.

The probe team was set up under a resolution lodged by Palestine, which has observer status at the council, but U.N. officials say its goal is to address all violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Gaza, regardless of which side is involved.


Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here