Goldstone Report Judge Named to UNHRC Gaza Probe
Former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis was appointed on Monday to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) commission investigating Israel's Operation Protective Edge and that actions of the Hamas terrorist group.
The move comes after Lebanese-born British lawyer Amal Alamuddin - Hollywood star George Clooney's fiancee - turned down her nomination citing existing professional commitments.
The selection of McGowan Davis is par for the course for UNHRC's probe, given that the judge was part of the 2009 Goldstone committee which accused Israel of "war crimes" in Operation Cast Lead. Israel rejected the findings of the report which many assessed as blatantly biased, and even Judge Richard Goldstone later retracted that core accusation of the report.
Israel and the US have rejected the UNHRC commission, particularly given that the head of the probe, Canadian Law professor William Schabas, has been particularly outspoken in his bias against Israel.
Among other examples, Schabas was found in a recently discovered video from a 2013 panel showing his eagerness to prosecute Israel over its actions in Gaza, even if that involved “twisting things and maneuvering” in the international legal arena. He also recently admitted to a double standard against Israel, even as he refused to label Hamas a terrorist group.
The probe was launched under a resolution by "Palestine," which gained non-member observer status in 2012.
"In carrying out its work, the Commission of Inquiry will aim to establish the facts and circumstances of human rights violations and crimes perpetrated in order to identify those responsible," the UNHRC said Monday.
McGowan Davis served on the supreme court of the state of New York from 1986 to 1998. In 2004 and 2005, she worked in Afghanistan's public defenders' office, and has also been involved in war crimes justice projects in Sierra Leone, Cambodia and Rwanda.
The third member of UNHRC's three-man probe will be Doudou Diene of Senegal, who has previously served as the UN's watchdog on racism and on post-conflict Ivory Coast. The committee is to report back to the council by March.
In response to the UNHRC probe against Israel's defensive operation, Nobel laureate Professor Yisrael (Robert) Aumann recently commented that the committee amounts to simple anti-Semitism.