17 Oct 2009

UN endorses Gaza war crimes report

8:12 pm on 17 October 2009

The United Nations Human Rights Council has endorsed a report into Israel's offensive in Gaza in January which accuses both Israel and Palestinian militants of war crimes.

The report by South African judge Richard Goldstone calls for credible investigations by Israel and Hamas, and suggests international war crimes prosecutions if they fail to do so, the BBC reports.

Twenty-five countries voted for the resolution, while Israel and the United States were among six countries which opposed endorsement of the report, saying it would set back Middle East peace hopes.

The Palestinian Authority initially backed deferring a vote, but changed its position after domestic criticism. Eleven countries abstained and five others, including the UK and France, chose not to vote.

Israel has slammed the resolution as a diplomatic farce, and vowed no soldiers or officials will ever face trial in an international court, the ABC reports.

It says the Goldstone Report is "one-sided" and "politically motivated".

Palestinians and human rights groups say more than 1,400 Gazans were killed in the 22-day conflict, the majority of them civilians. Israel puts the figure at 1,166.

Thirteen Israelis, including three civilians, were killed.