Israel, Hamas failed to conduct credible Gaza war crimes probes: HRW

Israel, Hamas failed to conduct credible Gaza war crimes probes: HRW

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] Sunday accused both Israel and Hamas [JURIST news archives] of failing to conduct meaningful, credible investigations into accusations of war crimes during the January 2009 Gaza conflict [GlobalSecurity backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. In a 62-page report [text, PDF; materials] HRW described the alleged law of war violations committed during the combat, along with the deficient responses from both sides:

More than one year after the conflict, neither side has taken adequate measures to investigate serious violations or to punish the perpetrators of war crimes, leaving civilian victims without redress. Israel’s investigations have fallen far short of international standards for investigations, while Hamas has conducted no credible investigations at all.

States responsible for violations of the laws of war are required to make reparations, which includes providing fair and adequate compensation to victims and their relatives, and establishing the truth about what happened. … States also have an obligation to investigate war crimes allegedly committed by their armed forces, and if appropriate, to prosecute those responsible.

The report also called on the UN and members of the international community to pressure both Israel and Hamas to conduct "thorough and impartial investigations" into the war crimes allegations.

In February, HRW criticized [JURIST report] Israel for failing to demonstrate that it would conduct a thorough and impartial investigation of the alleged war crimes. Just prior to that, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official website] said [JURIST report] that it was unclear [BBC report] whether Israel and Palestine have fully met UN demands [JURIST report] to set up a commission to investigate war crimes that may occurred during the conflict. The UN General Assembly [official website] adopted a resolution [JURIST report] last November giving Israel and Palestine three months to complete an investigation into war crimes allegations.