Former UN rights boss to head probe into Israel, Hamas alleged crimes

Former UN rights boss to head probe into Israel, Hamas alleged crimes
2 min read
Navi Pillay will head an international commission of inquiry into alleged crimes committed during the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas in the besieged Gaza Strip, the UN's Human Rights Council said.
Eleven days of bombing left at least 250 dead [Getty]

Former United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay will head an international commission of inquiry into alleged crimes committed during the latest conflict between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas in Gaza, the UN's Human Rights Council said in a statement on Thursday.

The council agreed in late May to launch the investigation with a broad mandate to probe all alleged violations, not just in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, but also in Israel during hostilities that were halted by a May 21 ceasefire.

Eleven days of deadly Israeli bombardment on the Gaza Strip ended on May 21 with a ceasefire declaration, after more than 250 Palestinians were killed including dozens of children.

Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the council at the time that deadly Israeli strikes on Gaza might constitute war crimes and that Hamas had violated international humanitarian law by firing rockets into Israel.

Israel rejected the resolution adopted by the Geneva forum at an emergency special session and said it would not cooperate.

Pillay, a former South African judge who served as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2008-2014, will lead the three-person panel also composed of Indian expert Miloon Kothari and Australian expert Chris Sidoti, said the statement issued by the Human Rights Council.

The investigators, who have been tasked with trying to identify those responsible for violations with a view to ensure they are held accountable, are due to present their first report in June 2022.