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Friday, 20 March 2009

UN sees grave war crime in Gaza war

A United Nations human rights investigator says the Israeli military action on densely populated Gaza Strip constitutes grave war crime.

Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, said under the Geneva Conventions if warring forces cannot distinguish between military targets and surrounding civilians, "launching the attacks is inherently unlawful and would seem to constitute a war crime of the greatest magnitude under international law."

"On the basis of the preliminary evidence available, there is reason to reach this conclusion," said Falk's annual 26-page report to the UN Human Rights Council.

He accused Israel of a "massive assault on a densely populated urbanized setting" and subjecting the entire civilian population to "an inhumane form of warfare that kills, maims and inflicts mental harm". He also gave the same death toll from Israel's offensive -- 1,434 Palestinians, including 960 civilians -- as the Palestinian human rights center. More