Gaza War - International Law

International Law

Main article: International law and the Gaza War See also: United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict

Accusations of violations regarding international humanitarian law, which governs the actions by belligerents during an armed conflict, have been directed at both Israel and Hamas for their actions during the Gaza War. The accusations covered violating laws governing distinction and proportionality by Israel, the indiscriminate firing of rockets at civilian locations and extrajudicial violence within the Gaza Strip by Hamas. As of September 2009, some 360 complaints had been filed by individuals and NGOs at the prosecutor's office in the Hague calling for investigations into alleged crimes committed by Israel during the Gaza War.

On September 15, 2009, a 574 page report by UN inquiry team was released, officially titled "Human Rights in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories: Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict". It concluded that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity. On October 16, 2009, the UN Human Rights Council endorsed the report. Israel's Defense Minister said that the report was distorted, falsified and not balanced.

Human rights organizations have urged both Israel and Hamas to implement an independent investigation into the alleged violations of international law as stipulated by the Goldstone report.

On April 1, 2011, Goldstone wrote an op-ed that appeared in The Washington Post in which he stated that he no longer believes the report's finding that Israel targeted Palestinian civilians as a matter of policy, the most serious accusation the report made against Israel. The three other signatories to the UNHRC report, Hina Jilani, Christine Chinkin and Desmond Travers, co-authored an op-ed that appeared in The Guardian in which they replied that there was no evidence that refutes any of the report's findings.

In April 2012, the International Criminal Court (ICC) rejected the Palestinian Authority's (PA) request that Israel be investigated for claimed war crimes in Gaza in 2009, holding that since the PA is recognized by the UN General Assembly as an "observer" rather than a "state", the ICC lacked jurisdiction to hear its request. The decision was heavily criticized by human rights groups.

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