UNRWA wants probe of Gaza 'war crimes'

UN official: Both sides must be investigated; hopes mechanism will return Gazans' faith in rule of law.

survey.gaza.war.2009.results (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
John Ging, head of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza, called on Friday for the establishment of an independent international investigation into alleged war crimes committed by both sides during Operation Cast Lead. At a press conference held in Geneva, Ging said that a credible investigation of the death and destruction in Gaza was necessary especially in light of the growing anger of Gazans, their lack of faith in the rule of law and the increasing number of extremists in the Strip, Reuters reported. It is urgent to establish accountability for death and the destruction of Palestinian infrastructure through a credible mechanism which would "channel this emotion to confidence in the rule of law," Ging reportedly said. Ging told reporters that the number of extremists in the Strip had grown as a result of the three-week operation against Hamas, and stressed that it was important to prove that justice could be delivered in a lawful way. The extremists "are very confident in their rhetoric that there should be no expectation that justice will be delivered through the rule of law. Now we must prove that wrong," he reportedly said. According to the report, the UNRWA head noted that Israeli civilians had also suffered, and therefore, the investigation had to examine "legitimate allegations" on both sides. Ging expressed his hopes that new US Middle East envoy George Mitchell will talk to ordinary people in Gaza as part of a "new track" in diplomacy. "My first request to the US administration is talk to the ordinary people in Gaza. Come to Gaza and talk to the ordinary people - the mothers, fathers, leaders of civil society, the people who are not involved in politics," said Ging.