NEW YORK – A panel established by the UN Human Rights Council to assess
violations of international humanitarian law in Gaza convened in Geneva on
Monday for a session that will last until January 28.
The UN Committee of
Independent Experts was established to assess efforts undertaken by Israel and
the Palestinians in addressing the findings of the Goldstone Report, which
alleged that human rights violations had been committed by both sides during
Operation Cast Lead two years ago.
American judge Mary McGowan Davis is
chairing the committee. She was a member of the original three-person panel,
whose other two members are no longer able to serve due to professional
commitments. They have been replaced by Swedish judge Lennart Aspegren, an
appointee of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. The new
committee will have only two members.
McGowan Davis was a justice on the
New York State Supreme Court, as well as a federal prosecutor. She has served as
a consultant to the International Criminal Court and the International Criminal
Tribunal for Rwanda, and has mentored and trained lawyers and judges in
Afghanistan, Iraq, Mongolia and Rwanda.
Aspegren has been both a
magistrate and appellate judge in Sweden. He has also served as a legal adviser
to the Swedish government, as well as its director-general for legal affairs. In
addition, he was a judge on the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
from 1995 to 2000.
McGowan Davis and Aspegren will present a report in
Geneva in March.