Speech to UN: Why Goldstone Mission Changed Its Name

UN Human Rights Council
13th Regular Session, Agenda Item 7
Follow-up to Special Sessions (S-12/1 and S-9/1)

22 March 2010

Questions on Resolution S-9/1

Delivered by Cindy D. Tan

Thank you, Mr. President.

Resolution S-9/1, under which we meet today, was adopted on 12 January 2009. It established the fact finding mission, focused only on alleged Israeli crimes, and declared Israel guilty from the start-of, quote, “massive violations.”

At the same time, the Mission, all must admit, adopted a curious attitude toward its founding resolution. In Annex II of the Goldstone Report we see the following.  On 3 April 2009, the day he was named to head it, Judge Goldstone’s first act was to write to Israel under the following letterhead:  “Human Rights Council International Independent Fact Finding Mission Established by Resolution S-9/1.”

This title, mentioning the founding resolution, was the common practice of similar HRC missions.Around this time, Judge Goldstone and his colleagues were criticized by many for having accepted to work under such a biased mandate.Something interesting then happened. Five days later, the official letterhead and title of the Mission changed.

Suddenly, the reference to Resolution S-9/1 disappeared.  Judge Goldstone signed his letter of 8 April under a new title and new letterhead, reading as follows: “Human Rights Council International Independent Fact Finding Mission.”

Mr. President, why did the Mission delete the reference to its founding instrument?

Then, in Judge Goldstone’s letter of 29 April, the Mission title and letterhead were changed yet again. The latest name read: “United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict.”  Here we have the quiet removal not only of Resolution S-9/1, but even of the name Human Rights Council.

Mr. President, why did Judge Goldstone and his Mission delete the name of this Council, the body that created his Mission? Was this an attempt to distance the Mission from this august body?All of this culminated in Judge Goldstone’s various and alternating arguments as to how he changed the original, one-sided mandate of S-9/1, and the guilty verdict that was issued from the start.

We were told he changed it with the former president; or by obtaining assent of the sponsors; or by the silence of this council after the president addressed the council in June. Legally, of course, none of these arguments have any basis whatsoever.

In truth, one need merely look at the final version ratified by the GA on 18 December 2009: there we see the original mandate, the original guilty verdict, unchanged, unamended. Mr. President, is this the rule of law?

Thank you, Mr. President.


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