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Goldstone Co-Author Could Replace Falk at UN

UN Watch reveals the identity of yet another anti-Israel candidate pushed by Arab states to replace Richard Falk as "rights expert."
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 3/28/2014, 5:42 AM

UN Human Rights Council
UN Human Rights Council
AFP photo

Arab states are continuing to pressure the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) regarding the replacement for Richard Falk as the “human rights expert” who probes Israel's conduct towards Palestinian Arabs.

A day after it exposed that Arab countries were seeking to appoint Indonesia's former UN ambassador, Makarim Wibisono, to the position, the Geneva-based UN Watch on Thursday exposed the identity of another candidate that Arab states are trying to push for the job.

This time, the candidate is London School of Economics professor Christine Chinkin, who was one of the authors of the Goldstone Report, which accused Israel of committing war crimes during the Cast Lead counterterrorism operation in 2008-9, while dismissing the constant rocket attacks at southern Israel by Gazan terrorists.

UN Watch obtained a copy of a letter sent by Yemen, on behalf of the Arab group of states, to the President of the Human Rights Council. In the letter the Arabs demand that Chinkin be appointed as Falk’s replacement.

The letter cites Chinkin’s “relevant experience and expertise” and characterizes her as “impartial, objective and with strong personal integrity.”

UN Watch noted in a statement on Thursday that when Judge Richard Goldstone retracted the core accusation of his report, Chinkin joined with the two other authors to accuse him in all but name of misrepresenting facts in order to cast doubt on the credibility of their joint report.

Chinkin first made her name at the UN by serving with Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the HRC’s 2006 inquiry into the deaths of 19 Palestinian Arabs killed in Beit Hanoun by errant Israeli shells, noted UN Watch, which added that Canadian MP and law professor Irwin Cotler declined to serve in the inquiry, citing the one-sided mandate, which “violated the presumption of innocence.”

The organization further noted that “Chinkin had no problem accepting and indeed embracing this mission, which, in Cotler’s words, ‘deliberately ignored Palestinian rocket attacks on the Israeli city of Sderot that preceded Israel’s actions.’”

UN Watch further revealed that on January 11, 2009, during Operation Cast Lead, the Sunday Times published a joint statement signed by Chinkin that declared Israel to be the aggressor, and a perpetrator of war crimes.

The letter began by “categorically rejecting” Israel’s right to claim self-defense against Hamas rocket attacks, “deplorable as they are.”

The statement was devoted to the thesis that Israel was guilty — of the very accusations that the Goldstone Commission was meant to impartially examine.

Asked about this by UN Watch during a May 2009 meeting with Geneva NGOs, Chinkin denied that her impartiality was compromised, saying that her statement only addressed the question of aggression, but not war crimes, which was the issue examined by her UN panel.

In fact, the organization noted, her statement not only determined that “Israel’s actions amount to aggression, not self-defense,” but additionally that they were “contrary to international humanitarian and human rights law,” and constituted “prima facie war crimes.”

Falk, who is also known for his hatred of Israel, is stepping down from his position after serving his maximum term.

No matter who is chosen, the replacement is likely to be just as anti-Israel, as the UNHRC is notorious for its singling out Israel for criticism while allowing into its ranks countries with questionable human rights records, including China, Russia, Algeria, Cuba, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia.

The United States this week welcomed Falk’s imminent departure.

In a statement to Reuters, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power condemned what she described as "Falk's relentless anti-Israeli bias, his noxious and outrageous perpetuation of 9/11 conspiracy theories."

"His publication of bizarre and insulting material has tarnished the UN's reputation and undermined the effectiveness of the Human Rights Council," she said. "The United States welcomes Mr. Falk's departure, which is long overdue."

Power’s predecessor in the UN, Susan Rice, demanded in 2011 that Falk be fired over his remarks that there was an “apparent cover-up”  by U.S. authorities of facts about the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Last year, Rice once again called for Falk’s dismissal, after he implied that the Boston Marathon bombings were payback for America’s "geopolitical fantasy of global domination" and its friendship with Israel.