A United Nations Security Council meeting at UN headquarters in New York..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday named retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert as the head of an inquiry into attacks on the organization’s facilities during Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip and the use of UN sites to store weapons.
The investigation would be “an internal and independent United Nations Headquarters Board of Inquiry into certain incidents that occurred in the Gaza Strip between July 8 and August 26, 2014,” UN spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters.
Cammaert is a former UN force commander in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Ethiopia and Eritrea, and a former military adviser to the secretary-general.
In 2008 he was awarded the Carnegie-Wateler Peace Prize, a Dutch award that is bestowed upon those “who have made themselves meritorious in the cause of peace.”
Other inquiry board members include Argentinian Maria Vicien-Milburn, the general counsel of UNESCO in Paris and a director at the UN’s Legal Affairs Office; Lee O’Brien of the United States, who has served as Middle East team leader; K.C. Reddy of India, a former UN security adviser for Syria; and Canadian Pierre Lemelin, a senior program manager with the UN Mine Action Service.
The board’s mandate is to “review and investigate a number of specific incidents in which death or injuries occurred at, and/or damage was done to United Nations premises. The board will also review and investigate incidents in which weapons were found to be present on United Nations premises,” Haq said.
“The secretary-general expects that the board will enjoy the full cooperation of all parties concerned,” he added.
Israel has said that UN facilities were targeted because Hamas used the buildings to store weapons and rockets, including at UNRWA schools.
The IDF opened five criminal investigations in September into its Gaza war operations, including attacks that killed four Palestinian children on a beach and 14 people at a UN school.
An estimated 20,000 homes were badly damaged or destroyed in the fighting and Gaza’s power station and other major infrastructure were hit.
More than 2,100 Palestinians, half of whom were gunmen, were killed during the Gaza war. Sixty-seven Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel were killed by rockets and attacks by terrorists aligned with Hamas.