Human Rights Watch’s Kenneth Roth Misstates Facts and Law

The following UN Watch letter on the United Nations’ controversial
Goldstone Gaza inquiry appears in today’s edition of The Jerusalem Post.

Human Rights Watch’s Kenneth Roth Misstates Facts & Law

Sir, – According to Human Rights Watch’s Kenneth Roth, the UN Human Rights Council’s originally one-sided mandate for its Gaza inquiry is in “the superseded past,” because the 47-nation body “acquiesced” in the broadened terms given by the council president to Judge Richard Goldstone (“Don’t smear the messenger,” August 26, a response to Prof. Irwin Cotler’s op-ed, “The Goldstone Mission – Tainted to the Core,” Part I & Part II.)

This is a misstatement of both fact and law. The biased mandate — which examines only Israeli actions and presumes Israel’s guilt in advance — was adopted by the council on January 12, 2009, in Resolution S-9/1. This governing framework of the Goldstone inquiry has never been legally “superseded.” The president’s purported changes were announced in April, and the council had the opportunity to ratify them at its June session. It chose not to do so.

Silence does not amend resolutions. Nor does the council president himself possess such power, any more than the House Speaker in the U.S. can amend a law.

Moreover, Roth fails to address Goldstone’s refusal to disqualify Christine Chinkin from the inquiry, as requested by UN Watch in a 28-page legal brief. While international law requires human rights fact-finders to be impartial and free of any commitment to a preconceived outcome, Chinkin, like the council, declared Israel in breach before she even started.

Goldstone and Roth are well aware of these and other legal defects, yet apparently believe that the ends — which they mistakenly believe will be noble — justify the means.

Executive Director, UN Watch

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