UN chief sets up Gaza inquiry

AFP , Monday 10 Nov 2014

United Nations school
A Palestinian woman reacts as the blood of wounded and dead people is seen on the ground following what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike at a United Nations-run school, where displaced Palestinians take refuge, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip August 3, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday appointed a five-member panel to investigate Israeli attacks on UN shelters during the Gaza war and the discovery of Hamas weapons at UN sites.

Ban announced plans to set up a probe during his visit to Gaza last month after describing the three Israeli shellings of UN-run schools as a "moral outrage".

Israel maintained that Palestinian Hamas fighters were using the schools to store weapons but denied that it had deliberately targeted the schools, which were being used as shelters by Palestinians during the 50-day Israeli offensive.

The inquiry led by retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert will "review and investigate a number of specific incidents in which death or injuries occurred at, and/or damage was done to United Nations premises," said UN spokesman Farhan Haq.

UN officials have said that Hamas rockets were found in vacant shelters and condemned those responsible for putting civilians at risk.

The other members of the panel include Maria Vicien-Milburn of Argentina, American Lee O'Brien, Canadian Pierre Lemelin and K.C. Reddy of India.

The UN spokesman emphasized that Ban "expects that the board will enjoy the full cooperation of all parties concerned."

The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva separately has set up a commission of inquiry into the Gaza offensive, led by Canadian lawyer William Schabas.

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