Mr. President, Member States
Over 15 months have now passed since
Israeli forces ended their 23 day offensive on the Gaza Strip. In that time
investigations conducted by numerous independent organisations, including the
UN Fact Finding Mission, have found sufficient evidence to indicate that
Israeli forces systematically violated international law.
Over six months has passed since
this Committee demanded effective investigations into these events.
Nothing has happened. Only 3
low-level Israeli soldiers have been indicted, or scape-goated. Inadequate
investigations have been proffered as an alternative to justice.
In the language of the International
Criminal Court, Israel has proved itself unwilling to conduct genuine
investigations. As such, and as confirmed by the Permanent Court of
International Justice, the State of Israel is internationally accountable.
I would also like to remind this
Committee that investigations which persist for a long period of time or are
deemed generally inadequate serve but one purpose: the promotion and
maintenance of a culture of impunity.
This system denies victims’
legitimate rights to the equal protection of the law, and an effective judicial
remedy. It also undermines respect for the rule of international law, with
devastating and far reaching consequences.
This situation cannot be allowed to
persist indefinitely. Almost a year and a half has already passed.
I urge you to return international
law, and respect for the rule of law, to the forefront of international action,
and to end current double-standards. The situation in the occupied Palestinian
territory and Israel demands resort to mechanisms of international justice via
a Chapter VII Security Council referral to the International Criminal Court. Concurrently national courts must exercise
their obligations with respect to the principle of universal jurisdiction.
Impunity cannot be allowed to
persist. The international community must fulfil its responsibilities.