Fordham Law

Richard J. Goldstone to Lead Human Rights Commission Fact-Finding Mission on Gaza Conflict

April 03, 2009

The United Nations Human Rights Council today announced the appointment of Richard J. Goldstone, former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and current Spinoza Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanity and Social Sciences, to lead an independent fact-finding mission to investigate international human rights and humanitarian law violations related to the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip.

Justice Goldstone has held the William Hughes Mulligan Chair in International Legal Studies as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Fordham Law School twice in recent years, and he will visit again in Fall 2009. In 2007, Fordham Law presented him with a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, the highest honor the school can bestow.

"I am confident that the mission will be in a position to assess in an independent and impartial manner all human rights and humanitarian law violations committed in the context of the conflict which took place between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009 and provide much needed clarity about the legality of the thousands of deaths and injuries and the widespread destruction that occurred", stated the Human Rights Council's President, Nigerian Ambassador Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi,. Today's appointment comes following the adoption of a resolution by the Human Rights Council at the conclusion of its Special Session on 9 and 12 January convened to address "the grave violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly due to the recent Israeli military attacks against the occupied Gaza Strip".

"It is in the interest of all Palestinians and Israelis that the allegations of war crimes and serious human rights violations related to the recent conflict on all sides be investigated. It is my hope that the findings of this mission will make a meaningful contribution to the peace process in the Middle East and to providing justice for the victims," Justice Goldstone stated upon his appointment.

Justice Goldstone is the recipient of several international human rights awards and most recently the MacArthur Foundation Award for International Justice to be presented at The Hague on 25 May 2009.