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PA submits official reply to UN over Goldstone allegations

Jan. 30, 2010 9:19 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 31, 2010 8:25 P.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma'an – The Palestinian Authority submitted an initial report explaining how the body will carry out investigations into alleged Palestinian war crimes, representative of Palestine to the UN Riyad Mansour said Friday.

The report was submitted to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon on the same day as Israel’s official reply to war crimes accusations were expected to be delivered. Earlier in the week the de facto government in Gaza said it would have a 52-page document ready "soon" but did not give a deadline for submission to the UN.

The submissions come before a UN General Assembly meeting at the start of February, at which Ban is scheduled to deliver a report on the progress of Israel and Palestinian sides have made in internal investigations into allegations of war crimes made by the UN-mandated Goldstone report.

On 5 November, the UN General Assembly decided by overwhelming majority to give Israel and the Palestinians three months to start “credible investigations” about the alleged war crimes during the war on Gaza.

The PA response was signed by caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad with several annexes including a presidential decree ordering the formation of an investigation committee composed of five judges and legal experts who would examine the Goldstone accusations. There was no explanation as to why the committee had not been formed earlier, to deliver findings on the accusations on or before the three-month limit set by Ban and the General Assembly.

PA representative to the UN Mansour noted there was an "initial report prepared by the investigation committee," but he declined to give details as to its contents.

“The PA stuck to the time limit given by the UN to present what should be presented,” Mansour said, adding that the document was the "official Palestinian reply."

De facto government officials in Gaza also said they were preparing a report that officials promised would "meet international standards and expectations."

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