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UN Watchdog: Probe Verdict Already Set

As the UN Human Rights Council names commissioners to its probe into flotilla clash, watchdog group warns: Probe marred by predetermined verdict.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 7/8/2010, 10:59 PM / Last Update: 7/9/2010, 8:30 AM

Flash 90

The United Nations Human Rights Council is naming commissioners this week to its own inquiry into a deadly clash between IDF soldiers and members of a Turkish terrorist group who attempted to break the Israeli naval blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza. The Council decided to establish a commission independent of an expected UN commission; the UN is planning a commission despite the fact that Israel has already set up a commission of inquiry with international observers.

Council President Sihasak Phuangketkeow of Thailand said the commissioners' identities may be released by Friday. Reports that former International Criminal Court President Philippe Kirsch would head the inquiry were inaccurate.

The UN commission faces a more serious problem than the identity of individual commissioners – that being, the fact that its verdict has already been determined, the UN Watch watchdog group warned Wednesday.

"The mandate of the probe violates due process and objectivity by presuming Israeli guilt from the outset,” said UN Watch director Hillel Neuer. The HRC probe was created two days after the flotilla clash in a resolution that accused Israel of committing an “outrageous attack” and did not mention that fighting broke out only after Turkish passengers had violently attacked and seriously wounded Israeli soldiers.

"It speaks volumes that Khaled Mashaal, the leader of the Hamas terrorist group, asked for this probe – literally for the council to create 'another Goldstone report' – while the Palestinian Authority actually opposed it,” Neuer noted. “The perception of the council's one-sided approach and lack of credibility is so severe that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's office in New York has completely ignored this probe in seeking to establish their own.”

The council's failure to take an objective approach serves to increase Israeli-Arab tensions, he added.