UNHRC headquarters 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Judge Mary McGowan Davis said Wednesday that her United Nations report on
Israeli military action in Gaza has not been influenced by Judge Richard
Goldstone’s recent statements retracting a key element of his work on the
McGowan Davis spoke to The Jerusalem Post by telephone from
Paris, expressing concern that Goldstone’s opinion piece in Friday’s Washington
Post on his Gaza report, would have bearing on her own work.
was completely separate from his work,” said McGowan Davis. “My feeling is [that
Goldstone’s statements] does not have any impact [on our work],” she
Goldstone headed a four-member fact finding mission that
investigated Israeli military actions in Gaza in December 2008 and
His report, which he submitted to the United Nations Human Rights
Council in 2009, accused Israel of intentionally targeting innocent civilians,
and recommended that the UN Security Council consider sending the matter to the
International Criminal Court.
On Friday, however, Goldstone retracted the
McGowan Davis said that the follow- up report, which she and
Swedish Judge Lennart Aspergen submitted to the United Nations Human Rights
Council last month was vastly different from Goldstone’s.
It did not
investigate Israeli military action in Gaza, she said, even though she did hold
hearings with victims of Israeli and Palestinian violence.
was to take his report as given and start from there,” said McGowan
Her panel was not a fact-finding mission, she said. Its mandate
was to assess and evaluate Israeli and Palestinian investigation into human
rights abuses that occurred at that time.
Her report, she said, judged
the investigatory process and not the actual actions that occurred.
stand by that report,” she said.
Her panel found that Israel had
investigated over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza, but that
few had led to disciplinary action. Separately, the report found that Israel had
launched 14 investigations into human rights violations in the West Bank, of
which two led to criminal charges.
It lauded the work of the Turkel
Commission, even though it dealt with the flotilla raid in May 2010, and not
Operation Cast Lead, saying that it proved Israel could investigate high-level
Still, her panel noted that as of last month, Israel had
not opened investigations into the actions of those who designed, planned and
oversaw Operation Cast Lead.
The committee also expressed reservations
about the promptness of the investigations and their transparency.
concluded that Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas all needed to do more
work to investigate human rights abuses.
The report was submitted to the
UNHRC last month. In response to the report, the council passed a resolution
that asked the General Assembly to endorse the Goldstone Report for a second
time and to pass it on to the UN Security Council so that it could consider
referring the situation of the “occupied Palestinian territories” to the
International Criminal Court.
McGowan Davis said she had no comment on