Commission of Inquiry on Crimes in Israel/Palestine
In special session last May, the UN Human Rights Council decided in resolution S-30/1 to “urgently establish an ongoing independent, international commission of inquiry, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to investigate in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up to and since 13 April 2021, and all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity.”
On 22 July 2021, the president of the Human Rights Council appointed former High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Navi Pillay of South Africa as chair of the Commission, accompanied by Mr. Miloon Kothari of India and Mr. Chris Sidoti of Australia as fellow commissioners. The Office of the High Commissioner is establishing a separate secretariat in Geneva to support the Commission of Inquiry. The Commission already has begun meeting, and a call was issued on 22 September 2021 for submissions, inviting individuals, groups and organizations to submit information and documentation relevant to its mandate by way of a secure cloud.
By an ‘ongoing commission’ is meant that this body will remain standing and operate on an open-ended basis. Also significant about this Commission is its mandate to identify underlying root causes of tensions, its broad geographical scope to include Israel, and specifically to investigate systematic discrimination and repression.
This Commission is charged to gather evidence and establish facts of violations, abuses and crimes committed, and to cooperate with judicial entities, as appropriate, with a view to ensuring that perpetrators of violations are held accountable. Reporting to both the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly, it will also make recommendations, in particular, on accountability measures to end impunity, including measures to be taken by third states to ensure respect for international humanitarian law.
Beyond this framing, the resolution does not specify the Commission’s pursuit of particular crimes. However, observers already anticipate that the evidence gathered would point to the serious international crimes of apartheid, persecution, pillage and population transfer, among others, as well as third-party complicity in their conduct and perpetuation.
For its part, HIC-HLRN is supporting the Commission of Inquiry with evidence and analysis of abuses, violations and crimes affecting housing, land and natural resources. This is in addition to identifying remedy and reparations that involve housing, land and property restitution, as HIC-HLRN has done for previous commissions of the Human Rights Council.
For more information, see the Commission of Inquiry webpage.
For more information and specific queries, contact: email@example.com.
Photo: Justice Navi Pilay, chair of the Commission of Inquiry. Source: OHCHR.