Photo: AP
'transparent investigations'. Posner
Photo: AP
Richard Goldstone
Photo: AFP

Grad victim slams Goldstone for omitting testimony

Dr. Mirella Sidrer, who was severely injured by rocket attack in 2008 admonishes UN committee for excluding her testimony from final report

Dr. Mirella Sidrer, who was severely injured last May when a Grad rocket struck her clinic in Ashkelon, spoke on Tuesday against Justice Richard Goldstone, who led a UN committee to investigate human rights violations during the Gaza war, saying he excluded her testimony from his final report .


Sidrer spoke during a one-day hearing held by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, on behalf of the NGO UN Watch. "I don't understand why my testimony wasn't taken into account," she said, "Especially by justice Goldstone, who sent me a letter saying he appreciated my testimony".


Sidrer presented the committee with pictures and news articles showing the events that took place following the missile strike. Following her injuries, Sidrer had to undergo seven operations, and still has a long way to go until she is fully recovered.


According to sidrer, when the Goldstone Report was published, she was astonished to find her testimony had been excluded: "It was important that this time, all UN delegates hear what I have to say, as opposed to only Justice Goldstone and the committee.


"When I received the report, I searched for my testimony only to find my name mentioned in two or three lines on page 460... It said that a rocket was fired without warning on the shopping mall where I was injured. I don’t understand why my testimony was not taken into account."



 Mirella Sidrer (Photo: Avi Roccah)


Sidrer continued to admonish Goldstone and the committee members, asking why she was not informed that some of the judges had already formed an opinion prior to their meeting. "When I testified before you, you said – and wrote – that you were shocked from what you saw in Gaza. Were you not shocked from what you saw happen to me in my clinic?"


During her speech, Sidrer directed her words to Justice Goldstone, but also faced the other representatives in the auditorium. When she was done, Sidrer left the auditorium without waiting for Goldstone's response.


"His response is irrelevant, because I don’t think I would have convinced him either way. I had to come here and say these words especially to the representatives of the countries that were in attendance," said Sidrer, adding that "perhaps this will make them see the report is completely biased. When I left the auditorium, many representatives came to me and shook my hand. I hope I managed to send a clear message."


'Important measures for justice and lasting peace'

Prior to Sidrer's speech, US Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner called on Israel to conduct a "transparent investigations" into allegations that it had committed alleged war crimes during Operation Cast Lead, saying that such investigation will help promote peace talks.


"If undertaken properly and fairly, these reviews can serve as important confidence-building measures that will support the larger essential objective which is a shared quest for justice and lasting peace."


Posner added that the UN Human Rights Council was giving Israel "grossly disproportionate attention", saying the US was willing to take part in a balanced discussion of the subject.


Posner continued to say that Hamas leaders also have a responsibility to investigate the crimes they committed, and must stop targeting civilians and use them as human shields. This marks one of the few times the US has attended a UN Human Rights Council meeting since joining the council three years ago.


Ibrahim Khraishi, ambassador of the Palestinian delegation, urged the Council to adopt the report which he called objective. "My people will not forgive the international community if the criminals are left without punishment," he said.


פרסום ראשון: 09.29.09, 21:06
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