Controversial UN Committee in DisarrayDecember 9, 2010 - 12:43 PM | by: Ben Evansky
The chairman of a controversial United Nations follow up committee that reviewed last year’s Gaza conflict between Israel and Palestinian terrorist groups for the much maligned UN Human Rights Council recently resigned citing a busy schedule, but critics say he should have been fired over his views that made his appointment to the committee a farce.
German jurist Christian Tomuschat’s chairmanship of the three-person committee was tasked with monitoring and enforcing recommendations from the heavily criticized “UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict” more commonly known as the Goldstone Report. The report, among other findings, charged Israel with committing war crimes during its twenty-two day war with Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups.
Following criticism of the Goldstone Report for its anti-Israel bias, critics had hoped that the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, would appoint a more balanced committee; however, no sooner had the appointments been made when questions swirled over the impartiality of Tomuschat. The Swiss based non-governmental organization UN Watch issued a report that stated Tomuschat had performed legal work for Yasser Arafat, “had frequently compared Israeli actions with the “barbarism” and “inferno” of World War II; and had repeatedly accused Israel of “state terrorism.”
Fox News asked Tomuschat about the accusations of an anti-Israel bias and he responded in an email saying in part,“I have no comments to make on my decision not to accept a new mandate as member of the Committee of Experts regarding investigations into violations in Gaza.” He referred Fox News to his letter to the Human Rights Council president which reads in part, “Let me point out to you that I do not feel deterred by specific attempts to discredit my impartiality and objectivity. These attempts could rather have led me to brush aside my reservations.”
Anne Bayefsky, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and Touro College tells Fox News,“The committee is now in disarray, despite the best efforts of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and the UN Human Rights Council to create a second monstrosity following the initial outrageous report of Richard Goldstone himself “,
Bayefsky’s comments follow the announcement that a second member of the committee is also stepping down. A spokeswoman from the UN Human Rights Council told Fox News that Param Cumaraswamy, a Malaysian national, was “unable to serve as a member of the Committee under the renewed mandate.”
Bayefsky says that, “Tomuschat and company jumped at the chance to spend some time at UN center stage by repeating the Goldstone blood libel and sidestepping criticism of Hamas. With their biases fully exposed and their reputation as serious lawyers suffering, however, they jumped ship.”
The committee is supposed to present its next report in March 2011. So far no replacements have been named.