US judge appointed to head UN Gaza inquiry

US judge appointed to head UN Gaza inquiry

[JURIST] UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) President Ambassador Joachim Ruecker on Tuesday appointed [press release] a new chairperson to head the Inquiry into the Gaza conflict after the former chairperson resigned. The UNHRC appointed Mary McGowan Davis to replace William Schabas, who resigned [JURIST report] after Israel accused him of bias over his work as a consultant with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) [official website]. The commission is responsible for investigating all allegations of human rights and humanitarian law iolations. The commission is in its final phases of collecting evidence for its report, which is scheduled to be presented to the UNHRC at the end of March.

The Israel-Palestine conflict [HRW backgrounder] continues to be a significant international legal issue. In November the UNHRC urged Israel to investigate [JURIST report] alleged violations committed by its forces during the recent conflict in Gaza. The 2014 conflict lasted from July 8 to August 26, resulting in more than 100,000 buildings damaged and nearly 2,200 deaths, with a high quantity of civilian casualties. In September Human Rights Watch accused the Israeli military of committing war crimes [JURIST report] by attacking schools where hundreds of displaced Palestinians sought shelter. Also in September the Shurat HaDin of the Israel Law Center asked the International Criminal Court to open an investigation [JURIST report] into alleged war crimes committed by Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal.