Sunday, July 25, 2010

Experts Named to Investigate Flotilla Incident

The United Nations Human Rights Council has announced the names of the three experts who will serve on a fact-finding mission to investigative violations of international law resulting from Israel’s interception of a flotilla of aid ships bound for the Gaza Strip, which led to the deaths of nine civilians.

The panel will be comprised of these three individuals:

  • Judge Karl T. Hudson-Phillips of Trinidad and Tobago.  Judge Hudson-Phillips served as a judge on the International Criminal Court (ICC) between 2003 and 2007.
  • Sir Desmond de Silva of the United Kingdom.  Sir Desmond was the Chief Prosecutor at the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) in 2005.
  • Mary Shanthi Dairiam of Malaysia.  Ms. Dairiam has been a member of UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) Gender Equality Task Force since 2007.

The Human Rights Council President, Ambassador Sihasak Phuangketkeow of Thailand, called on all parties to fully cooperate with the fact-finding mission, saying he hoped its work would contribute to peace and justice in the region. 

The three experts will now map out their plan of action and contact all relevant parties before they travel to the region, according to a press statement issued by the Human Rights Council. The panel is expected to report on its finding to the Council at a session in September.

The Council ordered the formation of a fact-finding mission on 2 June, three days after members of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) intercepted the convoy of six ships in international waters. The flotilla was trying to deliver aid to Gaza, which has been the subject of an Israeli blockade since 2007. Nine people were killed and dozens more were wounded.

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

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