UN Body Endorses Gaza War Crimes Report
By VOA News
16 October 2009
The U.N. Human Rights Council has endorsed a report that accuses Israel and the Palestinians of war crimes during the Gaza conflict nearly a year ago.
After two days of debate, the council voted 25 to six Friday in Geneva in favor of a resolution that backs the report, with 11 countries abstaining.
The U.N. report calls on both sides to conduct investigations into the war crimes accusations within six months. Otherwise, the matter would be referred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
The report also says Israel failed to take required precautions to protect noncombatants during the fighting last December and January. It also says Hamas fired fired rockets and mortars into Israel with the intention of harming civilians.
Both Israel and Hamas have denied the war crimes accusations.
Israel has rejected the report as false and one-sided, saying it was acting in self-defense against Hamas after years of Palestinian rocket attacks on southern Israel.
Israel says those rocket and mortar attacks are the reason it launched the Gaza offensive.
Some 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis died during the three-week operation.
The United States also criticized the U.N. report, which was put together by a group of investigators led by South African judge Richard Goldstone.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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