UN Watchdog Questions Appointment of Clooney Fiancee, Anti-Israel Lawyer on Gaza Inquiry Panel (VIDEO)
A United Nations watchdog NGO slammed the international body’s decision to allow a law professor avowedly hostile to Israel as well as actor George Clooney’s fiancee to head a human-rights inquiry into Israel’s Operation Protective Edge against Palestinian rocket and tunnel attacks from Gaza.
William Schabas, a Canadian international law professor at London’s Middlesex University will head the Human Rights Council’s three-member panel, appointed on Monday.
“Under international law, William Schabas is obliged to recuse himself because his repeated calls to indict Israeli leaders obviously gives rise to actual bias or the appearance thereof,” UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer said in a statement released in the wake of the UN’s move.
“You can’t spend several years calling for the prosecution of someone, and then suddenly act as his judge,” said Neuer. “It’s absurd — and a violation of the minimal rules of due process applicable to UN fact-finding missions.”
Neuer noted previous statements by Schabas, which, in his words, demonstrated “bias or appearance thereof:”
- “My favorite would be Netanyahu within the dock of the International Criminal Court,” Schabas declared last year.
- Schabas was an active participant before a pro-Palestinian “tribunal” that, according to a New York Times op-ed by Judge Richard Goldstone, consisted of one-sided evidence and a jury composed of “critics whose harsh views of Israel are well known.”
- In a law journal article, Schabas wrote that Netanyahu could be considered “the single individual most likely to threaten the survival of Israel.”
- A few years earlier, Schabas called for “going after” Israeli president Shimon Peres in the ICC, saying, “Why are we going after the president of Sudan for Darfur and not the president of Israel for Gaza?”
- In a 2009 blog post about the UN’s infamous Durban II conference on racism, Schabas urged the world not only to “ignore” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statements, but to stop “exaggerating” them. According to Schabas, those who “deserve the blame” are “Israel and its friends, who have manipulated the truth about the nature of the work of the United Nations by gross exaggeration of the role and intervention of certain fanatics.” Schabas described Ahmadinejad as nothing more than a “provocative politician,” and not a torturer of dissidents, inciter of genocidal anti-Semitism, and arch-sponsor of terrorism.
- In 2011, Schabas went to Iran to co-sponsor conferences with the Tehran-based “Center for Human Rights and Cultural Diversity,” despite its intimate ties with the fundamentalist regime, and avowed propaganda agenda. The center’s director, Kamran Hashemi, a former political officer with Iran’s foreign ministry, wrote his Ph.D under Schabas at the Irish Center for Human Rights.
Also on the panel are former UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, Senegalese Doudou Diene, who served in the role from 2002 to 2008, and British-Lebanese lawyer, Amal Alamuddin, who has worked at the International Court of Justice at The Hague.
Alamuddin is well known as the fiancee of Hollywood star George Clooney.
“She has some experience, but at 36 she will be the youngest ever to serve on any UN inquiry, raising suspicions that the UN is trying to inject some Hollywood publicity into the process,” Neuer said in the statement.
The resolution creating the inquiry on July 23, “which was sponsored by the Arab and Islamic states, was ‘born in bias,’” Neuer said, pointing out that the resolution, which condemned Israel 18 times, did not mention Hamas.
“The EU refused to support the resolution, saying it was ‘unbalanced, inaccurate, and prejudges the outcome of the investigation by making legal statements.’”
“The EU noted that the resolution ‘also fails to condemn explicitly the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israeli civilian areas as well as to recognize Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself.’”
American “President Obama’s representative to the UNHRC, Ambassador Keith Harper, described the inquiry as ‘yet another one-sided mechanism targeting Israel,’” Neuer said.
Watch a video of Schabas below: