Distinguished Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Following the Human Rights Council’s Special Session on Lebanon (S-2/1), the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has welcomed the report and recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry (A/HRC/3/2) of 23 November 2006 on the war in Lebanon in July and August 2006. The conflict had been instigated by Hezbollah’s kidnapping of the Israeli soldiers and the attacks by rockets on the civilian targets. Israel’s reaction has been perceived as indiscriminate and disproportionate for civilian population in Lebanon, while Hezbollah carried systematic attacks against civilians.
Commission of Inquiry
The Commission of Inquiry made recommendations towards humanitarian assistance, respect of the international humanitarian and human rights law and restraint on the use of certain weapons, while invoking international responsibility and proposing an inclusion of human rights in the reconstruction process. As the conclusions addressed the conduct of both sides to the conflict, the ICJ supported and has welcomed the establishment of a mandate of the OHCHR, in accordance with the HRC resolution 3/3, to contribute to the implementation of all the relevant recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry. However, the OHCHR’s report on the follow-up to the report of the Commission of Inquiry (A/HRC/5/9) points out to the pertaining challenges regarding e.g. the right to health, housing, personal security, to a remedy and the sustainable development and reconstruction of the country.
In this respect, the ICJ supports the recommendations that the victims be provided with the remedy. The victims of the armed conflict should benefit from the legal assistance, reparation, compensation and satisfaction.
Furthermore, the ICJ shares the Commission of Inquiry’s assessments and concerns about the sustainability of the recovery process in the post war Lebanon. The ICJ supports the United Nations system assistance to the Lebanese Government in the reconstruction and recovery of the country after the war from July and August 2006. It calls on all the Governments to extend their assistance to the Lebanese Government and to cooperate with the pertinent international bodies and mechanisms to enhance the redress for violations of humanitarian and human rights law, and to promote legal means for the victims of violations and a sustainable development of the country.
Inquiry into violations by the ICJ
In August 2006, The ICJ has established an ICJ Expert Legal Inquiry into violations of the international humanitarian law in the armed conflict in Lebanon. Six eminent legal and military experts have travelled to Lebanon and Israel and enquired into and investigated the facts and law on the particular means and methods of war on both sides, namely the Israeli air strikes in Lebanon and the rocket attacks by Hezbollah into Israeli territory. The Expert Legal Inquiry is preparing a public report on the application of the international humanitarian law to the conflict. The aim is to establish whether, and to what extent, parties to the conflict have violated the international humanitarian law and to identify possible responsibility.
Should the report conclude, that there have been breaches of the international humanitarian law, the ICJ will advocate for action to ensure that those responsible are held accountable, for surviving victims to receive reparations and for the military methods of the belligerents to be changed so they effectively minimize the death or injury of non-combatants as required by the international humanitarian law.
On this occasion, the ICJ calls also on the international community to establish a credible, high-level, independent and impartial Commission of Inquiry by the UN Security Council or its Secretary-General to examine violations by both sides. The ICJ Expert Legal Inquiry would share its conclusions with such a Commission.
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