On Thursday, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution establishing an independent commission of inquiry to investigate violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in the Gaza conflict prior to and since April 13, 2021. The resolution, A/HRC/S-30/L.1, passed by a vote of 24 in favor, 9 against, and 14 abstentions, calls for the creation of an “ongoing independent, international commission of inquiry” to be established by the Human Rights Council’s President.
The Commission will be given the broad mandate of investigating “all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law prior to and since 13 April 2021, as well as all underlying root causes of recurring tensions, instability, and conflict protraction, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity. The Commission will also have the authority to “establish the facts and circumstances that may amount to such violations and abuses and crimes” committed during the Gaza conflict, as well as make recommendations regarding the accountability of the perpetrators of the crimes.
The Council also urged all relevant parties to fully cooperate with the commission of inquiry and to facilitate its access and urged states to refrain from transferring arms if there is a clear risk that such arms will be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law. After weeks of escalating Israeli-Palestinian tensions in occupied East Jerusalem, the conflict erupted. It has resulted in the deaths of at least 252 civilians, including 63 children.