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Human Rights Watch urges Israel, Palestinians to comply with UN Gaza investigation

April 14, 2009 11:08 P.M. (Updated: April 14, 2009 11:08 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - The New York-based organization Human Rights Watch Israel and the Palestinians to comply with an upcoming UN-backed investigation into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the recent war in Gaza.

Human Rights Watch sent letters to US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and 27 European Union foreign ministers calling on them to endorse the investigation by Jewish South African Judge Richard Goldstone.

Goldstone was tasked by the UN Human Rights council on 3 April with heading an investigation into the alleged abuses in the Gaza Strip.

Israel's military offensive on Gaza in December and January left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead.

Goldstone, a Jewish South African judge, is the former chief prosecutor of the international war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and a member of the Human Rights Watch board.

Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch said in a statement that Goldstone "has the experience and proven commitment to ensure that this inquiry will demonstrate the highest standards of impartiality."

Human Rights Watch also said that an internal military probe would be insufficient given Israel's recrord.

The organization said: "Past research into IDF investigations and prosecutions regarding the wrongful deaths of Palestinian civilians found that Israeli investigative practices and procedures were not thorough, impartial, or timely.

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