Ban announced a five-member team on Monday to “investigate a number of specific incidents in which death or injuries occurred at, and/or damage was done to United Nations premises. The Board will also review and investigate incidents in which weapons were found to be present on United Nations premises.”
A similar investigation was launched after Israel’s 2008 invasion of Gaza but the findings were never made public. Ban released a summary of the findings which was prepared with the assistance of an Israeli delegation.
UN spokesperson Farhan Haq told UN Tribune in an email that the board announced on Monday “will report to the Secretary-General and he will then consider what to do with the findings. As he did in 2009. the Secretary-General intends to make public a summary of the Board’s report.”
The internal board of inquiry announced on Monday, as with all such internal UN probes, will not make legal findings or consider questions of legal liability. Ban said in August that he expects accountability for innocent lives lost during the conflict.
More than 500 Palestinian children were killed in this summer’s conflict and hundreds of others sustained life-altering injuries such as loss of limbs, blindness and severe scarring.
A total of more than 1,500 Palestinian civilians, including 306 women, as well as five Israelis were killed in the 50-day conflict.
Eleven staff members of the UN Relief and Works agency were killed while UN-operated schools came under attack on seven occasions resulting in 42 deaths. Rockets were also placed in UN schools by militants and these rockets later went missing.
Ban said he “expects that the Board will enjoy the full cooperation of all parties concerned.”
– Denis Fitzgerald
On Twitter @denisfitz