William Schabas

Head of UN Gaza inquiry commission called to try Netanyahu at ICC

William Schabas, Canadian professor of international human rights law, wrote the prime minister could be considered 'the single individual most likely to threaten the survival of Israel.'

The United Nations named William Schabas to chair an international commission of inquiry into possible human rights violations and war crimes by both sides during Operation Protective Edge.



Schabas, a Canadian professor of international criminal and human rights law and the President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, has previously stated he would've liked to see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "within the dock of the International Criminal Court."



In a law journal article he wrote in December 2010, Schabas wrote that Netanyahu could be considered “the single individual most likely to threaten the survival of Israel.”


He wrote that in response to Netanyahu's statement that Israel faces "three major strategic challenges. The Iranian nuclear program, rockets aimed at our civilians and Goldstone."


A few years earlier, the professor said in an interview: “Why are we going after the president of Sudan (at the ICC) for Darfur and not the president of Israel for Gaza?” Shimon Peres was president at the time.


In 2011, Schabas co-sponsored a "Center for Human Rights and Cultural Diversity" conference in Iran. The center, that accuses Israel of apartheid policies, has strong ties to the Iranian regime, which at the time was led by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


Attorney Amal Alamuddin, actor George Clooney's financee, was also meant to join the special investigations commission, but she declined the offer.


"I was contacted by the UN about this for the first time this morning. I am honored to have received the offer, but given existing commitments – including eight ongoing cases – unfortunately could not accept this role," she said in a statement.


Doudou Diene of Senegal, a lawyer who filled UN posts on racism and human rights in the Ivory Coast, was announced the third and final member of the commission.


Gabon Ambassador Baudelaire Ndong Ella, who presides over the UN's top human rights body in Geneva, announced the commission and said it would investigate all violations of international humanitarian and human rights law according to the council's July 23 resolution and report back in March 2015.


The commission was welcomed by Hamas but condemned by Israel.


"Hamas welcomes the decision to form an investigation committee into the war crimes committed by the occupation (Israel) against Gaza and it urges that it begin work as soon as possible," spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in Gaza.


Israel's foreign ministry recalled that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had previously called the Human Rights Council a "kangaroo court".


"Already, with the decision on July 23 to establish the committee, the prime minister and the foreign minister declared that the Human Rights Council had long ago turned into the 'terrorist rights council' and a kangaroo court, whose 'investigations' are pre-determined," Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said in a statement.


"If any more proof were needed, the appointment of the chairman of the panel, whose anti-Israel bias and opinions are known to all, proves beyond any doubt that Israel cannot expect justice from this body, whose report has already been written and all that is left is to decide who will sign off on it," Palmor said.


Reuters contributed to this report.


פרסום ראשון: 08.12.14, 09:49
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