Newspaper article International New York Times

U.N. Raises Possibility of War Crimes in Gaza ; Human Rights Official Says Both Sides Probably Broke Humanitarian Law

Newspaper article International New York Times

U.N. Raises Possibility of War Crimes in Gaza ; Human Rights Official Says Both Sides Probably Broke Humanitarian Law

Article excerpt

Navi Pillay said Wednesday that there was a "strong possibility" that Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes.

The United Nations' top human rights official, Navi Pillay, said Wednesday that there was a "strong possibility" that Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes with indiscriminate attacks on civilians during more than two weeks of fighting with militants in Gaza.

Opening a special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Ms. Pillay called for an investigation and accountability to end the cycle of violence.

Ms. Pillay cited Israeli airstrikes on civilian homes in Gaza and the shelling of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital two days ago, which killed four people, as examples of actions that suggest "a strong possibility that international humanitarian law has been violated in a manner that could amount to war crimes."

She also condemned Hamas and other militant groups for attacks on Israeli civilians.

The groups have fired thousands of rockets and mortars at Israel and have endangered Palestinians by placing military assets in densely populated areas. "The principles of distinction and precaution are clearly not being observed by such indiscriminate attacks on civilians by Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups," she said.

"The actions of one party do not absolve the other party of the need to respect its obligations under international law," said Ms. …

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