See also: UN picks American to lead investigation into Gaza protest killings (Reuters | 7.25.18)
Syracuse University College of Law and Professor of Practice and INSCT Faculty Member David M. Crane has been appointed Chair of a United Nations Human Rights Council Independent International Commission of Inquiry into alleged violations of international law “in the context of large-scale civilian protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” that occurred during May 2018.
The protests—primarily in Gaza and East Jerusalem—came in the wake of the announcement that the United States would move its embassy to Jerusalem and coincided with the 70th anniversary of Nakba (the 1948 Palestinian Exodus). The Guardian noted that May 14, 2018, was “the bloodiest day in Gaza since the 2014 war”. At the time, The Guardian reported, other UN human rights bodies—including UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination—urged Israel to halt “excessive force” against Palestinian protesters, and Amnesty International accused Israel of violating international law.
In his letter of appointment to Crane, UNHRC President Vojislav Šuc observed that the Commission has been formed as a result of the UNHRC Resolution S-28/1. In the Resolution, the Council decided “to urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council.”
The Resolution grew out of a May 18 Special Session of the UNHRC, at which UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called attention to the “[a]ppalling recent events in Gaza.” She explained to the Council that, “Since … protests began on 30 March, 87 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli security forces in the context of the demonstrations, including 12 children; 29 others, including three children, were killed in other circumstances. And over 12,000 people have been injured, more than 3,500 of them by live ammunition.”
Resolution S-28/1 also “Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, and all relevant parties to cooperate fully with the commission of inquiry and to facilitate its access, requests the cooperation, as appropriate, of other relevant United Nations bodies with the commission of inquiry to carry out its mission.”
“The focus of the investigation is to be open minded, fair, and neutral,” says Crane.
The two other members of the Commission of Inquiry will be Sara Hossain, a Bangladeshi lawyer, and Kaari Betty Murungi, a Kenyan lawyer and human rights activist. The commissioners have been asked to convene a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, “with a view to agreeing on terms of reference and methods of work, establishing contacts with relevant stakeholders, and preparing [a] programme of work.”