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International Bar Association calls for halt to attacks on Richard Goldstone

May 25, 2010 Leave a comment

LONDON (Press Releases)–The President and Executive Director of the International Bar Association (IBA), Fernando Peláez-Pier and Mark Ellis, respectively, are concerned by the sustained professional and personal criticism of the eminent jurist Richard Goldstone, following publication of the report by the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict.

Since the report was placed in the public domain on 25 September 2009, Justice Goldstone has been the target of a vitriolic campaign led by individuals and groups that disagree with the report’s findings. The United Nations Human Rights Council gave the four-person delegation, headed by Justice Goldstone, a mandate to investigate any and all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed in conjunction with military operations conducted in Gaza between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether committed before, during or after.

IBA President, Fernando Peláez-Pier said, The United Nations sought Justice Richard Goldstone to head the fact-finding delegation into the late 2008 and early 2009 incursions into Gaza because of his impeccable professional credentials and personal integrity. It seems incredulous that he is now being criticised on these very qualities by detractors of the delegation’s resulting report.’ He added, ‘Justice Goldstone has held the distinguished positions, to name a few, of Co-Chair of the Independent Commission on Kosovo, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa; positions which underline the guiding principles that no state, nation, or individual should be considered above or beyond the reach of the law.’  

IBA Executive Director, Mark Ellis said, ‘It is ironic that Justice Goldstone is now facing criticism of bias given that it was he who insisted on enlarging the UN mandate to include an enquiry into the conduct of both parties to the conflict. Justice Goldstone had been tasked with investigating whether or not actions undertaken by Israel and Hamas in Gaza were consistent with international law and the responsibility that all actors have in upholding the laws of war and ensuring accountability for crimes. The report ultimately concluded that violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law appear to have been committed by both Israel and Hamas.’ He continued, ‘Instead of vilifying Justice Goldstone, his critics should applaud him for not shying away from seeking the truth in what is an extremely sensitive and politically complicated situation.’

Justice Goldstone, former Co-Chair of the IBA’s Human Rights Institute, his family and friends have endured malicious attacks on his reputation and his motives by some who disagree with what has become informally known as the Goldstone report. The IBA calls for such assaults to cease. Justice Goldstone has a record of scrupulous impartiality; he helped build the first international war crimes courts since Nuremburg; he courageously challenged apartheid in his native country of South Africa; and he has won a host of awards for his work in promoting international justice.

During a recent IBA webcast, Justice Goldstone briefly addressed the barrage of criticism he has received in relation to the report on the Gaza Conflict. Click here to watch the video footage which also includes discussion on terrorism; international justice in Africa; and the ICC.

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Preceding provided by the International Bar Association

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