Geneva/Amman (20th January 2015): The United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict has visited Amman, Jordan. This was the second visit. During their stay the Commissioners held private meetings with a number of witnesses from the region.
In the course of their work the Commissioners and their team of investigators have already spoken to a wide range of witnesses and victims in the Gaza Strip, as well as the West Bank including East Jerusalem, and Israel and they expect to hear from more in the coming weeks. The Commissioners remain ready to travel to meet witnesses face-to-face if the Government of Israel grants access, or the security situation permits crossing from Egypt into the Gaza Strip.
During this visit to Amman many victims and witnesses recounted deeply traumatic events for the benefit of the Commission. The Commissioners wish to stress how grateful they are for the trust placed in them by the victims and witnesses, as well as the organisations that represent and assist them.
In its resolution A/HRC/RES/S-21/1 adopted on 23 July 2014, on “Ensuring respect for international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”, the United Nations Human Rights Council requested the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“…to urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014, whether before, during or after, to establish the facts and circumstances of such violations and of the crimes perpetrated and to identify those responsible, to make recommendations, in particular on accountability measures, all with a view to avoiding and ending impunity and ensuring that those responsible are held accountable, and on ways and means to protect civilians against any further assaults, and to report to the Council at its twenty-eighth session”.
Mary McGowan Davis (United States of America) served as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York and as a federal prosecutor during the course of a 25-year career in the criminal justice sector in New York City. She also has extensive experience in the fields of international human rights law and transitional justice. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association for the International Commission of Jurists and the International Judicial Academy, and serves on the Managerial Board of the International Association of Women Judges. Justice Davis also served as a member and then Chair of the UN Committee of Independent Experts tasked with following up on the findings of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza conflict occurring between December 2008 and January 2009.Doudou Diène (Senegal) was the United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance from 2002 to 2008. He also served as the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire from 2011 to 2014. From the early seventies he served in a wide range of roles in UNESCO and is a former Director of UNESCO’s Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue Division. He is also a Chair of the Board of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience and he has written widely on the issue of intercultural and inter-religious dialogue. Mr. Diène holds a doctorate in public law from the University of Paris and a law degree from the University of Caen (France). He is the Vice Chair of the Scientific Committee of the International Institute of Research in Politics of Civilisation of Edgar Morin.
William Schabas (Canada) is professor of international law at Middlesex University in London, as well as professor of international criminal law and human rights at Leiden University and emeritus professor human rights law at the National University of Ireland. From 2002 to 2004, he served as one of three international members of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission. As an academic he has written extensively on the issue of genocide and the holocaust and was the President of the International Association of Genocide Studies from 2009 to 2011. He was a commissioner on the Iran Tribunal that investigated torture and executions of prisoners in the Islamic Republic and he also sits on the advisory board of the Israel Law Review. He currently chairs the Institute for International Criminal Investigation and has received many awards for his human rights work, including Officer of the Order of Canada in 2006.
The United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict invites individuals, groups and organizations to submit information and documentation related to its mandate.
Procedure for submissions: Submissions should be sent no later than 31 January 2015 in a written form and must include the contact details for the author(s) of the submission. Please indicate whether the submission, or any part of it, should be treated confidentially.
By email to: firstname.lastname@example.org By post to: The United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, Palais de Nations, CH-1211 Geneva, Switzerland.
MEDIA REQUESTS: Please send requests by email to: email@example.com or telephone +41 798719824.
* * * * *