Sixteen prominent jurists have called on the United Nations to launch an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Israeli troops and Palestinian guerillas during Tel Aviv’s recent Gaza onslaught.
In an open letter to UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon and security council members that was published on Monday, the petitioners ask world leaders to send an ‘unfaltering signal that the targeting of civilians during conflict is unacceptable by any party on any count.’
The letter – which is supported by Amnesty International and signed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and investigators who worked in Kosovo, Darfur, Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia – calls for a UN commission of inquiry with an impartial mandate that can recommend potential avenues for prosecution, should violations be found.
Israel said that it launched its Gaza offensive to stop years of Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza on Israeli towns.
Some 1,400 Palestinians were killed during the three-week blitz, including around 900 civilians.
Thirteen Israelis died, including three civilians.