The former head of the UN Human Rights Council inquiry into the Gaza conflict said Monday that both Israel and Hamas likely violated international law during the 50-day conflict, adding that it would be “unusual” for only one party to have carried out war crimes without the other side following suit.
Canadian law expert William Schabas, who resigned from the probe in February citing Israeli allegations of bias over consulting work he once did for the Palestine Liberation Organization, told Channel 2: “It would actually be a very unusual war if only one side had committed violations of the laws of war and the other side behaved perfectly.
“That would be an unusual situation and an unusual conclusion. And the greater likelihood is that both sides actually” violated international law, he said.
Schabas also said it was “unfortunate” that Israel refused to cooperate with the UN Gaza probe into the 50-day conflict.
“When it suits Israel, it cooperates with the commission of inquiry, but in the case of the commission of inquiry set up by the Human Rights Council, it hasn’t cooperated and I think that’s unfortunate,” he said. “I think it’s not in Israel’s best interests to boycott the commission of inquiry.”
The law expert also said that an Israeli report on the war, released Sunday ahead of the UN report expected in the coming days, was insufficient.
“It’s not a question of an alternative, it should be both. [Israel] should cooperate with the international commission of inquiry and it should also conduct the investigation itself,” he said.
Schabas stepped down in February after Israel complained he could not be impartial because he had prepared a legal opinion for the Palestine Liberation Organization in October 2012. Schabas strongly denied that he was beholden to the PLO but said he was reluctantly stepping down to avoid the inquiry into the July-August conflict being compromised in any way.
Read more at Times of Israel.