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UN names Gaza war crimes panel

The UN Human Rights Council announces that Amal Alamuddin, a Lebanese-born international human rights lawyer, who was recently in the headlines for her engagement to actor George Clooney, will be on the commission looking into allegations of Israel war crimes in the ongoing Gaza conflict.

Joining Alamuddin will be Senegal’s Doudou Dienne, who was the UN’s special rapporteur on contemporary racism from 2002-2008; and Canada’s William Schabas, a genocide expert.

Amal Alamuddin with George Clooney (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)
Amal Alamuddin with George Clooney (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)

Israel’s Foreign Affairs Ministry tells The Times of Israel that it has no comment at this time.

UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer calls the panel “biased.”

In 2010, Schabas said in an interview that, although he supports the Goldstone Report, the crimes committed during Operation Cast Lead were not on the same scale as more serious violations elsewhere in the world.

“I think that when we look at all the crimes committed in Gaza during the conflict at the end of 2008-2009, we find that they are probably not — on a Richter scale of atrocity — at the top,” claimed Schabas.

“And there are many places in the world where worse crimes have been committed. Sri Lanka, for example, in March or April of 2009 was much more serious in terms of the atrocities and loss of life that was committed. So there is a tendency, I believe, for us to think that Gaza was the worst crime.”

Schabas continued: “And so, we mix our dissatisfaction with the situation of the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank, where we have this terrible wall that has been built; and the settlements, which continue being built even if Obama has told Netanyahu to stop. And certainly all these are a violation of international law and absolutely unacceptable.

“So we mix the issues of self-determination with the very specific war crimes committed in December and January, which were obviously serious but are not on the same scale as the war crimes that are being committed in Afghanistan, or were committed in Sri Lanka, and so on.”

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