Gaza Flotilla Inquiry Must Comply With Standards, UN Expert Says

NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–11 June 2010 – Any inquiry set up by Israel to investigate the Gaza flotilla incident which led to the deaths of nine civilians must be given a genuine capacity to find facts or it will not be considered credible, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions said today.

“There are several indispensable requirements for any such commission of inquiry to comply with international standards,” said Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, adding that he will continue to closely monitor the development and progress of the investigation.

The inquiry must be independent of the Government and the final report must fully be made public and not left to the discretion of the Government, Mr. Alston said.

It must also be given full legal authority to obtain direct access to all relevant evidence including key witnesses, all video and other records of the incident, he continued.

“If these requirements are met, a domestic commission of inquiry can make an important contribution to resolving the human rights issues raised by the raid on the flotilla,” the UN independent expert said today.

He added that he was basing his comments on conclusions drawn from his previous detailed study on the international standards for inquiries, and on his investigations and reports to the UN on killings and accountability issues in countries around the world.

Last weekend, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon held telephone discussions with the Prime Ministers of Turkey and Israel, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Benjamin Netanyahu, on options for moving forward with the investigation called for by the United Nations Security Council.

The 15-member UN body condemned the acts that led the Israeli military to intercept a convoy of six aid ships bound for Gaza in international waters, killing nine civilians and wounding dozens of people.