Justice Richard Goldstone of South Africa, who led the UN Human Rights Council’s independent Fact Finding Mission, presented the Mission's report to the Human Rights Council on 29 September 2009. The Fact Finding Mission investigated alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the Gaza conflict.
Human Rights Council 12th session
Follow-up to special session 9/1
Report of the Fact Finding Mission
Statement by Norway
29 September 2009
Norway welcomes this opportunity to address the report of the UN Fact Finding Commission. The report is thorough and well prepared. We note the substantial amount of documentation included in the Report.
The Commission has interpreted its mandate to include any actions by all parties that might have constituted violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law. This is important. We regret, however, the problems encountered by the Commission in obtaining documentation related to the effects of the shelling of Israeli civilians, as well as other information from Israeli Government sources, which could have shed more light on several issues raised in the report.
We note that the UN Fact-finding Commission concludes that there is evidence indicating serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed both by Israel during the Operation Cast Lead in Gaza and in the West Bank, as well as by Palestinian armed groups in their repeated launching of rockets into Southern Israel. It is our firm view that the conclusions drawn up by the Commission requires concrete action and that a credible system of investigation of the alleged violations should be established.
Under International Humanitarian Law, States have a clear obligation to investigate and prosecute possible violations conducted by members of its armed forces during the course of armed conflict. These are necessary steps to prevent a climate of impunity. The findings of the report leave no doubt that there should be an adequate and efficient follow up mechanism established by both parties to the conflict.
This is in line with our general view that the alternative to the rule of law is not only a society where power prevails over justice. It is also a society without long-term peace and prosperity prospects.
Press release of 16 September 2009 from the Norwegian Government on the UN Fact Finding Mission on Gaza Conflict
Statement by Richard Goldstone on behalf of the Members of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict before the Human Rights Council
Website of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict