Q. Did Justice Richard Goldstone repudiate the report on Cast Lead that came to be known as the Goldstone Report?

Q. Did Justice Goldstone repudiate the report on Cast Lead that came to be known as the Goldstone Report?

A. No. What follows is the answer from several sources including the other three main authors of the report who were quite incensed when Richard Goldstone was pressured into recanting one aspect of the report that was quickly and not surprisingly misconstrued in Zionist Israel press.

The Ashgate Research Companion to International Criminal Law: Critical Perspectives by William A. Schabas, Yvonne McDermott and Niamh Hayes. [Ashgate Publishing 2013] wrote on page 418 wrote, “Goldstone raised a question mark over only one aspect of the Fact-Finding Mission’s 575-page report — that the Israeli military had a policy of deliberately targeting civilians — and did not present any information that would rebut its findings. The other three members of the Missions responded ‘in order to dispel any impression that subsequent developments have rendered any part of the mission’s report unsubstantiated, erroneous or inaccurate’. [1]

In a statement referenced above to The Guardian [2] the three other authors of the report object strenuously to the unsourced “repudiation” by Richard Goldstone writing:

“Aspersions cast on the findings of the report, nevertheless, cannot be left unchallenged. Members of the mission, signatories to this statement, find it necessary to dispel any impression that subsequent developments have rendered any part of the mission’s report unsubstantiated, erroneous or inaccurate.

We concur in our view that there is no justification for any demand or expectation for reconsideration of the report as nothing of substance has appeared that would in any way change the context, findings or conclusions of that report with respect to any of the parties to the Gaza conflict. Indeed, there is no UN procedure or precedent to that effect.

The report of the fact-finding mission contains the conclusions made after diligent, independent and objective consideration of the information related to the events within our mandate, and careful assessment of its reliability and credibility. We firmly stand by these conclusions.

Also, it is the prerogative of the UN to take cognisance of any evidence subsequently gathered under domestic procedures that it finds credible and in accordance with international standards. Over 18 months after publication of the report, however, we are very far from reaching that point.

The mandate of the mission did not require it to conduct a judicial or even a quasi-judicial investigation. The mission and the report are part of a truth-seeking process that could lead to effective judicial processes. Like all reports of similar missions of the UN, it provided the basis for parties to conduct investigations for gathering of evidence, as required by international law, and, if so warranted, prosecution of individuals who ordered, planned or carried out international crimes. In the case of the Gaza conflict, we believe that both parties held responsible in this respect, have yet to establish a convincing basis for any claims that contradict the findings of the mission’s report…

…Many of those calling for the nullification of our report imply that the final report by the follow-up committee’s two members, Judge Mary McGowan Davis and Judge Lennart Aspegren, presented to the human rights council in March 2011, somehow contradicts the fact-finding mission’s report or invalidates it.

In the light of the observations of this committee such claims are completely misplaced, and a clear distortion of their findings. The committee’s report states that, according to available information, Israel has conducted some 400 command investigations into allegations by the fact-finding mission and other organisations. Command investigations are operational, not legal, inquiries and are conducted by personnel from the same command structure as those under investigation. Out of these, the committee reports that 52 criminal investigations into allegations of wrongdoings have been opened. Of these, three have been submitted for prosecution, with two of them resulting in convictions (one for theft of a credit card, resulting in a sentence of seven months’ imprisonment, and another for using a Palestinian child as a human shield, which resulted in a suspended sentence of three months). The third case, related to allegations of deliberate targeting of an individual waving a white flag, is still ongoing. [3]

[1] Schabas, William A., McDermott, Yvonne and Hayes, Niamh. The Ashgate Research Companion to International Criminal Law: Critical Perspectives. p. 418. Ashgate Publishing 2013.

[2] Pilkington, Ed, Urquhart, Conal. The Guardian. UN Gaza report co-authors round on Goldstone. 14 April 2011. Web. 26 June 2016. ‹https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/apr/14/un-gaza-report-authors-goldstone

[3] Jilani, Hina, Chinkin, Christine, Travers, Desmond. The Guardian. Goldstone report: Statement issued by members of UN mission on Gaza war. Comment is Free, 14 April 2011. Web. 26 June 2016. ‹https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/apr/14/goldstone-report-statement-un-gaza

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Michael Hess

Michael Hess

I started writing and editing BBSNews in 1990. Before the 'web, back in the Bulletin Board System (BBS) days. My pursuit of factual and reality based information informs my worldview. The ever evolving BBSNews contains New Mexico news, national and international news, politics, space, foreign policy and in particular; news and facts about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. See our About Us page for more details.