UNHRC appoints legal panel to war crimes probe on Gaza border violence

The United Nations Human Rights Council appointed a three member legal panel to hold a war crimes probe into alleged Israeli human rights violation on Gaza border violence that .

The panel includes legal experts David Michael Crane of the US, Sara Hossain of Bangladesh, and Kaari Betty Murungi of Kenya, according to the UNHRC.

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Crane served as the Chief Prosecutor to the Special Court for Sierra Leone from April 2002 to 2005. He now teaches international criminal at Syracuse University College of Law.

Hossain has been a barrister for the Supreme Court of Bangladesh since 2016, and has worked with the UNHRC Special Rapporteur on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Murungi was a legal adviser for gender-related crimes for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and was vice chairperson and commissioner to the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation commission of Kenya. She is on the boards of the boards of the Kenya Human Rights Commission and the Women’s Initiative for Gender Justice at the International Criminal Court.

In May, the UNHRC held a special session in which it mandated the creation of international commission of inquiry to “investigate all alleged violations and abuses of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military assaults on the large-scale civilian protests that began on 30 March 2018”.

The commission is tasked with looking at violations that could amount to war crimes, and to identify those responsible. It has also been asked to look for ways to end impunity and to ensure “legal accountability” including against individuals.

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The legal panel is expected orally update the UNHRC at its 39th session in September, and to present its final report at the 40th session in March 2019.