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UN investigators to start Gaza work next month

Aug. 12, 2014 7:25 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 14, 2014 6:47 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A three-member panel appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate allegations of humanitarian law violations during Israel's Gaza assault will start working in the Gaza Strip next month.

Ibrahim Khreisha, Palestine’s representative at the UN, told Ma'an that William Schabas will be heading the panel along with Canadian international law professor and Doudou Diene of Senegal, the UN's former Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism.

Another woman will be replacing British-Lebanese lawyer Amal Alamuddin, who has declined the UN's appointment.

“A team of seven to eight members will be assigned by the High Commissioner’s office to be working alongside with the panel,” Khreisha said.

Khreisha added that the international panel will enter Gaza through Egypt but that they will not be able to enter the West Bank or Jerusalem because Israel refused to cooperate with them.

He added: “There is an intention that Gazans' testimonies will be aired live, as in the Goldstone report.”

The panel will hear reports of Palestinian and international human rights institutions of “Israeli war crimes that occurred in the West Bank before the offensive on the Gaza Strip which started with detaining and killing more than 11 Palestinians, including the kidnapping, burning and killing of teen Muhammad Abu Khdeir,” Khreisha added.

“The escorting team will be investigating all humanitarian and international laws violations since June 13, 2014.”

The panel will submit a report by March 2015 to the Human Rights Council of the UN.

Some 1,945 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip and 11 in the West Bank following the kidnapping of three Israeli settlers.

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