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August 23, 2018 9:02 am

Chair of UN Probe of Gaza Border Violence Quits Less Than Month Into Job

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A Palestinian hurls stones at Israeli troops during riots on the Gaza border, April 1, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa.

Former war crimes prosecutor David Crane, an American who was named only last month to lead a UN investigation into violence in Gaza this year, has resigned, the United Nations said.

The UN said in a statement dated Aug. 22 that Crane had informed the Human Rights Council of his decision a day earlier “due to a personal circumstance that has arisen” and that the council was “considering next steps.”

Crane, a former senior US legal official who served as chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone in 2002-2005, was named chair of the three-person inquiry on July 25.

He could not be immediately reached for comment on Thursday.

At least 170 Palestinians — many of them members of terrorist groups — have been killed during weekly riots on the Israeli border that began at the end of March. One Israeli soldier has been shot dead by a Palestinian sniper as well.

Crane, recently retired as a Syracuse University professor, worked for decades for the US government, including as senior inspector general in the Department of Defense. When chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone he indicted the then Liberian leader Charles Taylor for war crimes.

The remaining members of the Commission of Inquiry are Sara Hossain of Bangladesh and Kaari Betty Murungi of Kenya. The commission is due to provide an update on its work to the Human Rights Council on Sept. 24.

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