donderdag 9 april 2009

Moet Israël meewerken aan VN onderzoek oorlogsmisdaden Gaza Oorlog?

Velen menen dat, omdat de als evenwichtig bekendstaande en gerespecteerde Richard Goldstone het onderzoek gaat leiden, Israel geen legitieme reden heeft om er niet aan mee te werken. Wel, in de eerste plaats worden dit soort externe onderzoeken naar oorlogsmisdaden doorgaans alleen gedaan in landen die geen eigen fatsoenlijk rechtssysteem hebben ofwel schurkenstaten. Israel kan zulke zaken prima zelf onderzoeken en heeft dat in het verleden vaak genoeg gedaan. Ten tweede zijn de andere leden van de commissie een stuk minder evenwichtig, om niet te zeggen behoorlijk bevooroordeeld. In rechtszaken zouden rechters die zo duidelijk een mening over de betreffende partijen in een zaak hebben, er geen uitspraak over mogen doen.
ZioNation, 08.04. 2009
The UN Human Rights Council has named the respected South African jurist and war crimes investigator, Richard Goldstone, to head a panel investigating alleged war crimes in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. The official mandate of the panel, as one may expect from the UNHRC, prejudges the outcome of the investigation, since the mandate is directed only at uncovering Israeli war crimes. Goldstone insists however, that the panel would examine the behavior of both sides. The appointment of Goldstone, presumed to be a Zionist, has led many to believe the the investigation would be fair. But it may be more relevant to focus on other panel investigators. In particular, we should consider the record of Christine Chinkin, who has already been involved in Gaza "war crimes" investigations.

The panel, in addition to Goldstone, consists of British Professor Christine Chinkin, Retired Irish army officer Desmond Travers, and Pakistani jurist Hina Jilani. Notwithstanding Goldstone's membership of the Board of Trustees of the Hebrew university, Goldstone, Jilani and Travers are signatories of a
recent letter to Amnesty International calling for an investigation of Israeli war crimes in Gaza. Jilani is a well known and courageous defender of women's rights in Pakistan. She has also appeared in hearings on behalf of Palestinians in Israel as a member of the board of the Frontline Defenders organization.

Under international law, all but rogue countries are generally trusted to do their own internal investigations of war crimes. Only rogue regimes, such as Nazi Germany, former Yugoslavia or Sudan are generally subject to external investigations and war crimes trials. Therefore, the calls for war crimes investigations of Israel are just another gimmick used in the war to delegitimize Israel.

Chinkin, along with the infamous Richard Falk, is among the signatories of a poisonous item in the
Sunday Times entitled "Israel's bombardment of Gaza is not self-defence – it's a war crime." As she has already decided the matter, it would seem that from her point of view there is no need to have any investigation. In a fair judicial procedure, a judge like Chinkin would have to recuse herself, but the nature of this "judicial procedure" should already be evident.
The sort of justice that will be administered by this investigation is the sort where the court is charged "to ensure that the defendants are found guilty and executed in accordance with Soviet justice." Chinkin has already announced the verdict in the Sunday Times. In calling for a war crimes investigation, Goldstone, Jilani and Travers have already expressed no confidence in Israeli justice and military investigations. The only question left open is whether the fallout will be worse if Israel cooperates or does not cooperate with this investigation of its already "proven" guilt. Of course, the investigation may also find that the Hamas are violating human rights by firing rockets and mortars on civilians, not to mention kidnapping Gilad Shalit and holding him while denying him the rights guaranteed under the Geneva convention. But we already know all that, and Christine Chinkin has already blamed everything on the Israeli "occupation."

In any fair investigation, a defendant has the right to remain silent, which is not taken as proof of guilt, and a defendant has the right not to testify against themselves. Chinkin's approach is already evident from the Beit Hanoun investigation: the "occupation" is at fault for everything, Israelis are guilty until proven innocent, and Israelis can never be proven innocent. The Beit Hannoun approach will no doubt set a precedent for the Gaza mission, if a precedent is needed.

On the principle that non-cooperation indicates guilt to Professor Chinkin, we can expect that in this investigation IDF officers who refuse to testify will be convicted of war crimes. If they do testify, no matter how much they protest their innocence, they will necessarily be convicted by the evidence of Palestinian "witnesses." There is no way to ascertain whether these "witnesses" are testifying to the truth or under duress, as they and their families are under the control of the Hamas.


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