UN headquarters in New York
Photo: Dana Zimmerman
International court to discuss Gaza op?
UN General Assembly to consider requesting advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on Israel's actions in Strip, The Guardian reported. 'There could be an ad-hoc tribunal established to hear allegations of war crimes,' says UN's special human rights investigator
The United Nations General Assembly, which is meeting this week to discuss Israel's military operation in Gaza, will consider requesting an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ), The Guardian newspaper reported Wednesday.
Richard Falk, the UN's special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories, said there was a well-grounded view that Israel's actions were serious violations of the UN charter, the Geneva conventions, international law and international humanitarian law.
"There is a consensus among independent legal experts that Israel is an occupying power and is therefore bound by the duties set out in the fourth Geneva convention," Falk added.
"The arguments that Israel's blockade is a form of prohibited collective punishment, and that it is in breach of its duty to ensure the population has sufficient food and healthcare as the occupying power, are very strong."
According to The Guardian, a Foreign Office source confirmed that the United Kingdom would consider backing calls for a reference to the ICJ.
"It's definitely on the table," the source said. "We have already called for an investigation and are looking at all evidence and allegations."
According to Falk, ad-hoc tribunals may be established to discuss the Gaza issue of the kind created to deal with the war in the former Yugoslavia and the genocide in Rwanda.
"If there were the political will there could be an ad-hoc tribunal established to hear allegations of war crimes," Falk said. "This could be done by the general assembly acting under article 22 of the UN charter which gives them the authority to establish subsidiary bodies."