UN Authority Figures

UN Human Rights Council International Fact-Finding Mission to Gaza, Head of Mission: Richard Goldstone

UN Photo
On April 3, 2009, Richard Goldstone was appointed to lead a "fact-finding mission to investigate international human rights and humanitarian law violations related to the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip."

Mission's biased mandate:
On January 12, 2009, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution deciding "to dispatch an urgent, independent international fact-finding mission, to be appointed by the President of the Council, to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by the occupying Power, Israel, against the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, due to the current aggression, and calls upon Israel not to obstruct the process of investigation and to fully cooperate with the mission" (Human Rights Council Resolution S-9/1)

Richard Goldstone, a jurist by profession, accepted this mandate which obviously prejudges the outcome. Although Goldstone claims his personal understanding and unwritten assurances are different, the only party that can amend this mandate is the Human Rights Council which has specifically refused to do so.

Goldstone's personal bias:

Furthermore, in advance of his mission, Goldstone has taken positions on the very subject of his supposed independent investigation.
On March 16, 2009, he signed a letter which states: "the events in Gaza have shocked us to the core." Signatories were shocked by Israel's use of self-defense. Signatories expressed no shock about the 8000 rockets over 7 years that rained down on Israeli civilians. Signatories suggested Israel was already guilty, writing for instance: [T]here is an important case to be made for an international investigation of gross violations of the laws of war, committed by all parties;" an investigation is necessary to "provide a public record of gross violations of international humanitarian law committed;" Israel needs to be told that "the targeting of civilians during conflict is unacceptable;" and there have been "crimes perpetuated against civilians on both sides."