Israel Palestine Conflict

UN rights experts call for war crimes probe in Israel, Palestinian territories

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UN rights experts called Monday for independent investigations into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity carried out in Israel and the Palestinian territories since October 7.

Morris Tidball-Binz, the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, and Alice Jill Edwards, the special rapporteur on torture, issued a joint statement stressing the need for “prompt, transparent and independent investigations” and accountability.

“Independent investigators must be given the necessary resources, support and access required to conduct prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into crimes allegedly committed by all parties to the conflict,” they said in the statement.

“The duty to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity, including any act of summary or extrajudicial killing, torture or other outrages on human dignity, is a fundamental legal obligation.”

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Their comments came amid a four-day pause in the relentless hostilities since Hamas launched its unprecedented attacks in Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli officials.

Israel’s military response has so far killed nearly 15,000 people, mostly civilians and including thousands of children, according to Gaza’s Hamas government.

The independent experts are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council but do not speak on behalf of the United Nations.

Their statement urged the international community to ensure that all those responsible for the most serious rights violations - especially those with command responsibility - be “promptly brought to justice”.

They pointed out that “there is no statute of limitation” for war crimes and crimes against humanity, which fall under so-called universal jurisdiction.

That means that courts in any country can prosecute those responsible, regardless of their nationality and the country where the crimes were committed.

“We encourage all states to play a proactive role in identifying key suspected perpetrators and helping to facilitate prosecutions through the principle of mutual legal assistance,” they said.

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