Judge Richard Goldstone 311 (R).
(photo credit: Reuters)
The United Nations Human Rights Council can only consider rescinding the
Goldstone Report if its author, South African jurist Richard Goldstone, submits
a formal written letter with such a request to the council, its spokesman told
The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
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The approval of the other three members of
his fact-finding mission, which produced the report, would be needed for the
UNHRC president to consider action, council spokesman Cedric Sapey
He added that the council had not received any request from the
fact-finding mission to rescind the report.
Sapey spoke with the Post
after Goldstone wrote an opinion piece in Friday’s Washington Post
, in which he
said he had erroneously accused Israel of intentionally targeting Palestinian
civilians when it attacked Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009.
allegation was among the reasons the report concluded that Israel’s actions in
Gaza constituted possible war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Friday, politicians and legal as well as human rights experts have speculated on
what impact, if any, his opinion piece would have on initiatives to use the
report to continue condemning Israel in the UN and possibly in the International
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Only one other member of the fact-finding mission,
Desmond Travers, has commented on the matter since Friday.
“The tenor of
the report in its entirety, in my opinion, stands,” Travers told the Associated
The council has not responded to the opinion piece, but its
spokesman did explain what it meant procedurally.
Sapey said Goldstone
had written his opinion piece as a private individual and that a newspaper
article alone would not immediately change council procedure.
state to the council with the combined support of a member state, however, could
use the letter as the basis for filing a resolution before the council at its
next session or at a special session.
That resolution could ask that the
council rescind the report, Sapey said.
Separately a move by a UN member
state could be made to rescind the report at the United Nations General
Assembly, which also endorsed the document, he said.
If no further action
is taken either by the fact-finding mission or by a UN member state, then the
Last month, the UNHRC passed a resolution asking the
General Assembly to endorse the report for a second time and to pass it on to
the UN Security Council so it could consider referring the situation of the
“occupied Palestinian territories” to the International Criminal
At present, that resolution still stands and is expected to move
forward to the UN General Assembly.
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