Questions on the Impartiality of the U.N. Tomuschat Committee
Submitted to U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights
Geneva, 21 October 2010
The U.N. Human Rights Council’s newly-renewed committee to enforce the Goldstone Report, headed by German law professor Christian Tomuschat, has declared Israel to be in breach of a duty to investigate “those who designed, planned, ordered and oversaw ‘Operation Cast Lead’,” and the “serious allegations” that “officials at the highest levels were complicit in violations.” Specifically, the committee cited the name of Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni, who served as foreign minister during the 2009 war with Hamas.
As soon as the Tomuschat Committee released its first report in September 2010, Palestinian organizations, echoed by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, called for the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, and prosecutors worldwide, to intervene. This latest U.N.-inspired “lawfare” campaign recalls last year’s successful effort by pro-Palestinian activists in Britain to obtain a court-ordered arrest warrant, on charges of war crimes, against Ms. Livni, who has since avoided traveling to Britain.
While the Tomuschat Report emphasized the principles of independence and impartiality as applicable to investigations, there are serious questions as to whether Professor Tomuschat’s membership on the panel conforms with those same principles, as required by the standards applicable to U.N. experts. To determine these fundamental procedural aspects of the Tomuschat Committee, the present report examined Professor Tomuschat’s legal advocacy work, academic publications, and other public statements concerning the Middle East conflict.
Regarding a U.N. expert’s obligation to be independent, the report found credible evidence that Professor Tomuschat performed legal advocacy work for PLO leader Yasser Arafat. It was reported that he and four other international jurists advised Mr. Arafat in 1996 on how the PLO should make its case before the U.N. and the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
(Read full summary)
If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.