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Amal Alamuddin named to UN Gaza inquiry team

Aug. 11, 2014 8:51 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 13, 2014 11:57 A.M.)
GENEVA (AFP) -- Hollywood star George Clooney's fiancee Amal Alamuddin is to join fellow human rights experts probing Israel's Gaza offensive, the United Nations said Monday.

The Lebanese-born British lawyer was one of three top experts appointed to a commission of inquiry by the UN Human Rights Council, which ordered the investigation last month.

The other members of the inquiry team are Doudou Diene of Senegal, who has previously served as the UN's watchdog on racism and on post-conflict Ivory Coast, and Canadian international lawyer William Schabas.

In the face of fierce opposition from Israel and the United States, the 47-member UN Human Rights Council voted on July 23 to create the commission of inquiry.

The decision came after a marathon seven-hour emergency session of the top UN human rights body, where the Israelis and the Palestinians traded accusations over war crimes.

The probe team has been tasked with reporting back to the council by March.

Alamuddin's family, who are from Lebanon's Druze community, fled to Britain during the country's 1975-1990 civil war.

The 36-year-old, who is fluent in Arabic, French and English, studied at a French school in London and holds degrees from Oxford and New York University.

Alamuddin is no stranger to international investigations and conflicts.

She worked with the international tribunal examining the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri and assisted ex-UN head Kofi Annan in efforts to make peace in Syria.

Among her legal clients have been Ukraine's former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and the controversial founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange.
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