All parties to Gaza crisis may have committed war crimes: UN rights chief


All parties to the Gaza conflict have been responsible for “clear violations of international humanitarian law including possible war crimes”, according to the UN’s top human rights official, Volker Türk.

In his Office's latest report on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory scheduled to be delivered to the Human Rights Council later on Wednesday, Mr. Türk repeats his condemnation of the Hamas-led massacres in Israel on 7 October that left some 1,200 butchered and calls for the immediate release of all Israeli hostages.

Plight focus

The High Commissioner for Human Rights also underscores how Israel’s “massive military response” had caused “unprecedented destruction and suffering” which had led to the dire humanitarian crisis being endured by Gazans now facing imminent famine.

“Clear violations of international humanitarian law, including possible war crimes, have been committed by all parties,” the report from the Office of the High Commissioner states, before calling for further investigations to establish accountability and to overcome “entrenched impunity”.

Humane treatment call

Among the actions expected of the warring parties, the report from the UN rights chief urges Palestinian armed groups in Gaza “to ensure the humane treatment and immediate release of all hostages”, to stop firing “indiscriminate projectiles” at Israel - and to pull out fighters from buildings used by civilians.

The High Commissioner’s report also calls for Israel to “immediately end all practices of collective punishment” of Gazans including the “complete siege” and ensure “immediate access to humanitarian and commercial goods throughout Gaza, commensurate with the immense humanitarian needs”.

Appealing to the Israeli military, Mr. Türk urges the return of all Palestinians uprooted from their homes by the war, along with compliance with international humanitarian law by ending the use of explosive weapons “with wide area effects” in built-up areas. Protection must also be provided for hospitals and other civilian infrastructure that are essential for people’s survival, the report states.

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