UN Gaza flotilla panel submits first report

Inquiry headed by former New Zealand PM hands Ban preliminary report; UN spokesman: inquiry proceeding "in a positive and collegial manner."

By JORDANA HORN
September 17, 2010 02:09
1 minute read.
UN SECRETARY-GENERAL Ban Ki-moon, center, meets with members of the panel investigating the Gaza flo

UN Flotilla Committee 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

 
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NEW YORK – UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon received his first report from his appointed four-person Panel of Inquiry into the May 31 Gaza flotilla incident on Wednesday.

The report, which was not made public, was largely procedural in nature and was based on the two meetings the panel held in August and September of this year, an official from the secretary-general’s office said.

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The report explains “the Panel’s understanding of the tasks at hand and the working methods it has unanimously adopted in order to carry out its mandate,” the official said, adding that proceedings “have been conducted in a positive and collegial manner.”

Members of the panel agreed that they will receive and review reports of national investigations into the May 31 incident from both Israel and Turkey. The panel also agreed to make requests to state-designated points of contact in Israel or Turkey, in the event that they require more information or clarification.

If information is required from other states besides Israel and Turkey, the panel determined that information will be sought through diplomatic channels.


These points implicitly address previously expressed concerns that the panel would be able to assume a subpoena power or would attempt to challenge national investigations into the incident.



“The Panel agreed that in the light of the information so gathered, it would examine and identify the facts, circumstances and context of the incident and make findings and recommendations for the prevention of similar incidents in the future,” a statement issued by the secretary- general’s office read, adding that Ban “was heartened that the Panel unanimously reported it had the means available to it to respond to the high international concern that has been expressed concerning the flotilla incident.”

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