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The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel

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West Bankand Gaza mapOn 27 May 2021, the Human Rights Council held a special session on “the Grave Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem” and adopted the resolution “Ensuring respect for international human rights law and international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel”.

Through its resolution, the Human Rights Council decided to “urgently establish an ongoing, independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel, all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and abuses of international human rights law leading up and since 13 April 2021”. The resolution further requested the commission of inquiry to “investigate all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity”. The commission of inquiry is mandated to report to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly on an annual basis.

In March 2024, the Human Rights Council passed two resolutions, in which it requested the Commission of Inquiry to present reports to the Human Rights Council at its fifty-ninth session in June 2025 on (i) settlers and settler groups involved in acts of terror, violence or intimidation against Palestinian civilians and the actions taken by Israel and third States to ensure accountability for violations of international law (A/HRC/55/L.28); and (ii) the transfer or sale of arms, munitions, parts, components and dual use items to Israel (including those used during the Israeli military operation in Gaza since 7 October 2023) and analyse legal consequences of these transfers, including those related to State responsibility (A/HRC/55/L.30).

Mandate

The Human Rights Council decided that the independent international commission of inquiry shall:

  • Investigate in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up to and since 13 April 2021;
  • Investigate all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity;
  • Establish the facts and circumstances that may amount to such violations and abuses and of crimes perpetrated;
  • Collect, consolidate and analyse evidence of such violations and abuses and of crimes perpetrated, and systematically record and preserve all information, documentation and evidence, including interviews, witness testimony and forensic material, in accordance with international law standards, in order to maximize the possibility of its admissibility in legal proceedings;
  • Document and verify relevant information and evidence, including through field engagement and by cooperating with judicial and other entities, as appropriate;
  • Identify, where possible, those responsible, with a view to ensuring that perpetrators of violations are held accountable;
  • Identify patterns of violations over time by analysing the similarities in the findings and recommendations with and of previous of United Nations fact-finding missions and commissions of inquiry on the situation;
  • Make recommendations, in particular on accountability measures, all with a view to avoiding and ending impunity and ensuring legal accountability, including individual criminal and command responsibility, for such violations, and justice for victims; and
  • Make recommendations on measures to be taken by third States to ensure respect for international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, in accordance with article 1 common to the Geneva Conventions, and in fulfilment of their obligations under articles 146, 147 and 148 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, including by ensuring that they do not aid or assist in the commission of internationally wrongful acts.

The commission of inquiry will report on its main activities on an annual basis to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly, commencing in June and September 2022 respectively.

The commission will be comprised of three expert members, one of whom shall serve as Chair, appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council. The commission will be supported by a secretariat comprising the necessary expertise for the implementation of the mandate, including professional investigators and legal analysts. The commission of inquiry will gather information from a wide variety of sources, including through travel to the region to meet with witnesses and victims.

In March 2024, the Human Rights Council passed two resolutions, in which it requested the Commission of Inquiry to present reports to the Human Rights Council at its fifty-ninth session in June 2025 on (i) settlers and settler groups involved in acts of terror, violence or intimidation against Palestinian civilians and the actions taken by Israel and third States to ensure accountability for violations of international law (A/HRC/55/L.28); and (ii) the transfer or sale of arms, munitions, parts, components and dual use items to Israel (including those used during the Israeli military operation in Gaza since 7 October 2023) and analyse legal consequences of these transfers, including those related to State responsibility (A/HRC/55/L.30).

See the Terms of Reference of the commission.

Documentation

Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel 5 September 2023 (Issued on 16 October 2023)
العربية | 中文 | English | Français | русский | Español
Hebrew unofficial translation

On 30 December 2022, the General Assembly of the UN adopted resolution A/RES/77/247 in which it requested the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to give an advisory opinion on the “Legal Consequences arising from the Policies and Practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.” Pursuant to ICJ procedure, only member states, Palestine as an observer state, and the UN may provide it with written submissions. The Commission has produced this position paper which reflects the legal views of the Commission on the questions presented to the ICJ.
September 2023
English

Detailed findings on attacks and restrictions on and harassment of civil society actors, by all duty bearers
2 June 2023 (Issued on 8 June 2023)
English

Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel
9 May 2023 (Issued on 8 June 2023)
العربية | 中文 | English | Français | русский | Español
Hebrew unofficial translation

Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel
14 September 2022 (Issued on 20 October 2022) - Map of Israeli Settlements and Related Infrastructure in the West Bank
العربية | 中文 | English | Français | русский | Español

Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel
9 May 2022 (Issued on 7 June 2022)
العربية | 中文 | English | Français | русский | Español

Human Rights Council resolution S-30/1 on ensuring respect for international human rights law and international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel.
https://undocs.org/A/HRC/RES/S-30/1

Press Releases

Grave violence in Israel and Gaza has outraged the conscience of humanity, UN Commission of Inquiry says
English
27 October 2023

Civilians are the primary victims of increased violence in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, says the UN Commission of Inquiry
العربية | English | עִברִית
16 October 2023

Commission of Inquiry collecting evidence of war crimes committed by all sides in Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories since 7 October 2023
العربية | English | עִברִית
10 October 2023

The rights of civil society members are being violated by all entities in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, UN Commission of Inquiry says; Israeli Government restrictions intrinsically linked to occupation
العربية | English | עִברִית
8 June 2023

Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, to hold Public Hearings in Geneva from 20 to 24 March
العربية | English | עִברִית
13 March 2023

Commission of Inquiry welcomes General Assembly resolution requesting an ICJ Advisory Opinion relating to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory
العربية | English
31 December 2022

Commission of Inquiry to hold public hearings in Geneva from 7 to 11 November 2022
العربية | English
1 November 2022

Commission of Inquiry finds that the Israeli occupation is unlawful under international law
العربية | English | עִברִית
20 October 2022

New Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, issues first report
العربية | English | עִברִית
7 June 2022

President of Human Rights Council appoints Members of Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel
English
22 July 2021

Statements

Statement by Navanethem Pillay, Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel. Briefing to Member States, Geneva
English
16 April 2024

Remarks by Ms. Navanethem Pillay, Joint briefing of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, to Permanent Missions, International Organizations and Civil Society Organisations in Geneva
English
10 November 2023

Statement by Navi Pillay, Chair of the Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, to the General Assembly Third Committee, UN Headquarters, New York
English
24 October 2023

Statement by Navi Pillay, Chair of the Commission of Inquiry / 53rd session of the Human Rights Council
English
20 June 2023

Statement by the Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, to the General Assembly Third Committee, UN Headquarters, New York
English
27 October 2022

Remarks to the Human Rights Council's 50th session, Geneva
English
13 June 2022

Public Hearings

As part of its mandate and its investigations, the Commission of Inquiry held a first series of public hearings from 7 to 11 November 2022, in Geneva. The hearings focused on the closure orders and terrorism designation of a number of Palestinian NGOs, and on the incident surrounding the killing of the journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Victims, witnesses, civil society organizations, and legal representatives were invited to provide relevant testimony to the Commission in this forum. From 20 to 24 March 2023, the Commission organized a second round of hearings, in Geneva, which focused on the shrinking space for civil society in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel, along with additional testimony on the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh. The Commission heard from human rights defenders and activists, women human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, family members of victims, cultural activists, and individuals who have been subjected to, or witnessed, attacks, restrictions and harassment by authorities and non-State actors. Watch the full testimonies here.

Looking the Occupation in the Eye: Testimonies of Palestinians’ Rights Defenders Before a UN Commission of Inquiry
العربية | English

Statement by the Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel at the closing of public hearings in Geneva
English
24 March 2023

Statement by the Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel at the opening of public hearings in Geneva
English
20 March 2023

Statement by the Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel at the opening of public hearings in Geneva
English
7 November 2022

Statement by the Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel at the closing of public hearings in Geneva
English
11 November 2022

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel
English
11 April 2022

Photos

UN Secretary-General António Guterres (right) meets with Navi Pillay, Chair of the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in New York on 25 October 2023.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres (right) meets with Navi Pillay, Chair of the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in New York on 25 October 2023.

Members of the Commission of Inquiry meeting with the President of the General Assembly, Csaba Kőrösi, at UN Headquarters, 26 October 2022 © COIOPTEJ

Members of the Commission of Inquiry meeting with the President of the General Assembly, Csaba Kőrösi, at UN Headquarters, 26 October 2022 © COIOPTEJ

Members of the Commission of Inquiry meeting with Deputy Prosecutor Nazhat Shameem Khan and Deputy Prosecutor Mame Mandiaye Niang at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, June 2022.

Members of the Commission of Inquiry meeting with Deputy Prosecutor Nazhat Shameem Khan and Deputy Prosecutor Mame Mandiaye Niang at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, June 2022. © ICC

Videos

Press conference by the Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, at UN Headquarters, New York, on 25 October 2023.

The 35th Meeting of the 3rd Committee at the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly, 24 October 2023

Statement by Commission Chair Navi Pillay to the UN General Assembly, 78th session, 3rd Committee, 24 October 2023

Press conference by the Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, in Geneva following the presentation of their second report to the Human Rights Council on 20 June 2023

Public Hearings, Geneva, 20-24 March 2023

Members of the Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel spoke to the Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament on 2 March 2023

Interactive dialogue, 2nd Meeting, 50th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council, 13 June 2022

The Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, issued its first report in June 2022 for presentation at the 50th session of the Human Rights Council. As part of its appearance before the Council, the Commission held a press conference on 14 June 2022.

Public Hearings, Geneva, 7-11 November 2022

Interactive dialogue, 3rd Meeting, 53rd Regular Session of the Human Rights Council, 20 June 2023

Interactive dialogue, 3rd Meeting, 50th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council, 14 June 2022

Third Committee, 35th plenary meeting - General Assembly, 77th session, 3rd Committee, 27 October 2022

Press conference by the Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, at UN Headquarters, New York, following the presentation of their first report to the General Assembly, 27 October 2022

This video was developed to illustrate the growth of Israeli settlements and outposts over time in some areas of the West Bank. It focuses on four settlements and outposts with the highest observed growth from 2015-2022: Susiya, Hermesh, Kfar Tapuach West and Mevo’ot Jericho. In its 14 September 2022 report to the General Assembly (issued on 20 October 2022), the Commission of Inquiry found that there are reasonable grounds to conclude that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory is now unlawful under international law owing to its permanence and to annexation actions undertaken by Israel, including the erection and expansion of settlements. The video was developed by the United Nations Satellite Centre (UNOSAT), part of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), upon the request of the Commission of Inquiry.

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