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H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon

United Nations Secretary-General

760 United Nations Plaza

New York, NY 10017

 

 

16 September
2011

 

Dear
Secretary-General,

We are writing to you as the General
Assembly gets under way, in relation to the pursuit of accountability for
victims of crimes under international law and follow-up to the Report of the UN
Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict.

In
November 2009, the UN General Assembly tasked you with monitoring the
implementation of General Assembly Resolution A/Res/64/10, which addressed the
domestic investigations of alleged crimes under international law committed by
all sides in the context of Israel’s offensive on the Gaza Strip from 27
December 2008 to 18 January 2009.

Two
years later, it is unambiguously clear that all sides have failed to conduct
domestic investigations that are prompt, effective, independent, and in
conformity with international law, and failed to prosecute suspected
perpetrators of crimes under international law. This has been confirmed by national
and international human rights organizations, as well as the UN Committee of
Independent Experts established by the Human Rights Council. Consequently, the
16th session of the Human Rights Council recommended that the forthcoming
session of the General Assembly submit the Report of the UN Fact-Finding
Mission on the Gaza Conflict to the Security Council, with the recommendation
that the Security Council refer the situation in Israel and the Occupied
Palestinian Territory to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court,
pursuant to Article 13(b) of the Rome Statute.

We
request that you support this recommendation of the Human Rights Council, and
act decisively to pursue accountability and uphold victims’ rights. Consequent
to your monitoring of the domestic investigations, it must now be unequivocally
clear that the national authorities are unable or unwilling
to carry out genuine
investigations or prosecutions
. Therefore, international criminal
investigations and prosecutions offer the only realistic means of combating the
pervasive impunity in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The
two-year process triggered by the Report of the Fact-Finding Mission on the
Gaza Conflict must be allowed to reach its full legal conclusion. The failure
to administer justice domestically means that victims’ rights can only be
upheld through international justice mechanisms, and most appropriately the
International Criminal Court.

We
call upon you, as Secretary-General, to uphold the purpose of the United Nations
as defined in Article 1 of the UN Charter: ‘to maintain international peace and
security, in conformity with the principles of justice and international law.’
The international community must enforce the rule of international law, and the
UN Secretary-General has a decisive role to play in this regard.

We
ask that you take a decisive stand in the fight against impunity, and ensure
that this issue is addressed at the UN Security Council.

 

Yours
sincerely,

 

Raji Sourani

Director, Palestinian Centre for Human
Rights

 

Kamel Jendoubi

President, Euro-Mediterranean Human
Rights Network

 

Salil Shetty

Secretary General, Amnesty
International

 

Souhayr Belhassen

President, FIDH

 

Issam
Younis

General
Director, Al Mezan

 

Shawan Jabarin

General Director, Al-Haq