UN rights chief: Strong possibility of Gaza crimes

UN rights chief: Strong possibility of Gaza crimes
Updated 24 July 2014

UN rights chief: Strong possibility of Gaza crimes

UN rights chief: Strong possibility of Gaza crimes

GENEVA: The UN’s top human rights official warned all sides in the two-week war in the Gaza Strip to not indiscriminately attack civilians, and that violations may amount to war crimes.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Wednesday that around three-quarters of the 650 Palestinians and around 30 Israelis killed in the conflict were civilians, and thousands more have been injured. The toll, she said, includes 147 children killed in Gaza over the past 16 days.
Pillay noted an Israeli drone missile strike in Gaza City that killed three children and wounded two others while they were playing on the roof of their home. She also referenced an Israeli strike and naval shelling that struck seven children playing on Gaza beach, killing four from the same family.
“These are just a few examples where there seems to be a strong possibility that international humanitarian law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes,” Pillay told the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council, which was convened by China and Russia, among others. “Every one of these incidents must be properly and independently investigated.”
Israel launched its operation in Gaza on July 8 in response to heavy rocket fire out of Hamas-controlled Gaza. The fighting escalated last week with an Israeli ground offensive.
Pillay also warned that Hamas and others were violating international law.
“Israeli children, and their parents and other civilians, also have a right to live without the constant fear that a rocket fired from Gaza may land on their houses or their schools, killing or injuring them,” Pillay said.
“Once again, the principles of distinction and precaution are clearly not being observed during such indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas by Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups,” she added.
Pillay said not abiding by those principles could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.