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Israel rejects UN Gaza war crimes investigation

[JURIST] Israel will not comply with a UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] investigation into possible war crimes that were committed during recent fighting in the Gaza Strip [BBC backgrounder], according to Wednesday statements by Israeli government officials. The probe was originally approved by the UNHRC in January, which recently appointed [press release; JURIST report] South African judge Richard Goldstone to head the four member delegation in its fact-finding mission. An unidentified official said that a letter was sent [AP report] to Goldstone last week, stating that Israel would not comply with the investigation because it doubted the mission's objectivity. Israel also argued that investigation did not focus enough [Haaretz report] on Hamas hostilities prior to the Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip. Hamas has said that it will cooperate with the investigation.

The investigation drew criticism [JURIST report] from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs [official website] earlier this month. The probe was a result of the report [text, PDF; JURIST report] authored by UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk [appointment release] that criticized Israel for failing to take adequate precautions to distinguish between civilians and combatants in their offensives in the region. Both Israel and the US condemned [JURIST report] the report as biased.

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