The Goldstone Report Controversy: Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law in the Gaza Conflict
Sarah Leah Whitson, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch
Published: Friday, November 13, 2009
In this podcast, Sarah Leah Whitson, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, addresses "The Goldstone Report Controversy: Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law in the Gaza Conflict". This is the 1st event of a 3-part lecture series titled, "The Goldstone Report and International Law - Three Perspectives".
NOTE: at minute marker 31:14 there was a short 8-minute video on white phosphorus usage in Gaza. To watch the video, click here: http://www.hrw.org/en/features/rain-fire-white-phosphorus-gaza
About the Speaker:
Sarah Leah Whitson is the Director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch. She has led landmark investigations of human rights conditions in Libya and Saudi Arabia and numerous advocacy missions in the region, and overseen over 20 research missions. She has also published articles on the Middle East in international and regional publications. Prior to joining HRW, Ms. Whitson worked as an attorney in New York for Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard Law School.
About the Lecture Series: "The Goldstone Report and International Law: Three Perspectives"
The UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations, Center for Near Eastern Studies, Israel Studies Program, and UCLA School of Law International Human Rights Program, proudly present a 3-part lecture series to offer 3 perspectives on the Goldstone Report.
About the Goldstone Report
The UN Human Rights Council ("UNHRC") appointed a fact-finding mission to investigate violations of international human rights and humanitarian law by all parties during the recent Gaza conflict (December 27, 2008-January 19, 2009). The mission headed by the respected South African international law expert, Richard Goldstone, produced a 575 page document, known as the “Goldstone Report,” based on interviews with witnesses on all sides, public hearings, and review of over 10,000 pages of documents, 30 videos and 1200 photographs documenting the conflict. The report concluded that both Israel and Palestinian armed groups perpetrated war crimes and other serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. The report also recommended that Israel and the Palestinian government in Gaza conduct credible internal investigations to hold responsible parties accountable, failing which the international community should take action to ensure accountability.
The report was met with immediate controversy, with Israel and the US opposing its adoption by the UNHRC, on the grounds, inter alia, that it would detract from efforts to relaunch a peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. The debate in the UNHRC, discussions in the UN General Assembly and the possibility of a Security Council referral offer a novel context to consider the influence of international human rights and humanitarian law.