숨진 1,000여 명 이상이 민간인… 전범 조사 철저히 해야
1,000명 이상의 팔레스타인 민간인 학살을 불러온 이스라엘의 가자 지구 군사공격이 종료된지 1년이 다되어간다.
한 달도 안 되는 기간 동안 이스라엘의 무차별적인 공격으로인해 가자 지구에서는 300명 이상의 아이들을 포함해 1,000여 명이 넘는 팔레스타인 민간인들이 숨졌다. 국제앰네스티가 수행한 현장 조사에서 민간인들에 대한 무차별적인 발포, 백린탄 등 무차별 살상무기 사용 등이스라엘에 의한 전쟁범죄에 대한 수도 없이 발견되었다.
같은 해 11월, 유엔 총회는 양측에 해당 시기 동안의 전쟁범죄를 올해 2월 2일까지 조사할 것을 주문했다.지난 해 골드스톤 판사가 이끄는 유엔 진상조사단은 이스라엘과 하마스 등 분쟁 양 당사자가 ‘인륜에 반하는 죄’를 포함하여 전쟁범죄를 저지르고 여러 국제법을 위반했다는 것에 대한 증거를 확보했다.
하지만 현재까지 어느 쪽도 전쟁범죄 혐의에 대한 충분한 조사를 실시하지 않았다.
이스라엘은 자체적으로 전쟁범죄에 대한 조사를 실시했다고 하지만, 이스라엘의 수행한 자체 조사는 유엔 총회가 제시했던 국제기준을 만족시키지 못하는 조사였다. 군에 의해 자행된 전쟁범죄 혐의를 조사한 것은 군 내부 인력에 의해서였다.
유엔 총회가 주문한 조사 마감시한이 다가오는 가운데, 국제앰네스티는 양 측이 전쟁범죄를 철저하고 공정하게 조사하고 가해자들이 법의 심판을 받도록 해야 한다고 촉구했다.
만약 양측이 신뢰할만한 조사결과를 내놓지 않는다면, 유엔 안보리가 국제형사재판소에 이 상황에 대한 중재를 요청하는 등, 전쟁범죄의 가해자들이 법의 심판을 받도록 국제사회가 나서야 할 것이다.
Israel and Hamas have less than one month to show credible investigations into war crimes
Israel and Hamas have less than one month to show real progress in bringing to account those who perpetrated war crimes during the conflict in Gaza and southern Israel one year ago, Amnesty International warned on Monday ahead of a February deadline set by the UN.
In November 2009, the UN General Assembly gave Israel and Hamas until 2 February to show that they are willing and able to undertake investigations that meet international standards into alleged war crimes and possible crimes against humanity committed during the 22-day conflict which ended on 18 January 2009.
“The clock is running – if both sides cannot provide real evidence that they are taking steps to put their houses in order, the international community will need to take measures to ensure that the perpetrators are held to account, and that the victims receive full reparation, including compensation,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Should investigations fail to meet required standards, it is the responsibility of the international community to bring the perpetrators of crimes to justice, including by the Security Council referring the situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“It would be far better if Israel and Hamas meet their own obligations to ensure accountability for serious crimes under international law, rather than creating a need to be referred to the ICC,” said Malcolm Smart.
“The US and European governments who are protective of Israel, along with the Arab governments who have influence over Hamas, should urge the respective parties to meet their obligations while making it clear that the international community will step in if they continue to evade responsibility.”
Following the publication of the UN-commissioned report by South African Judge Richard Goldstone into war crimes and other serious violations, including possible crimes against humanity, committed during the 2009 conflict, Amnesty International sent both the Israeli authorities and Hamas a document setting out the criteria for credible and independent domestic investigations that conform to international standards.
Any investigations carried out by Israel and Hamas must be assessed against such criteria – including the need for the investigating body to be impartial, competent, expert and independent – and to have access to all relevant sources of information.
The UN Fact Finding Mission headed by Judge Richard Goldstone found evidence that both sides had committed war crimes and other serious violations of international law.. So far, neither side has shown a willingness to conduct credible investigations.
“The only investigations to have been carried out since the violence of one year ago have been by the Israeli military into the behaviour of their own forces. Unfortunately these do not meet the international standards stipulated by the UN General Assembly and they have taken place behind closed doors,” said Malcolm Smart. “For the investigations to have any credibility, they must be impartial, independent, thorough and transparent.”
More than 300 children were among the hundreds of Palestinian civilians killed by indiscriminate Israeli attacks in Gaza. Three Israeli civilians were killed by rocket attacks by Palestinian armed groups, including Hamas, in violation of international law.
Investigations conducted by Israel to date have failed to meet many of the essential standards. Those responsible for the limited investigations that have taken place are officers in the military – the same institution whose actions are being examined. The process is also opaque: it is unknown which cases have been opened and which have been closed, and on the basis of what assessments. No prosecutions for violations of international law have been initiated. The only indication of the results is the declaration by the Israeli army that most allegations of serious violations of international law are baseless and that the rest can be put down to operational mistakes.
Hamas, for its part, has not shown any serious inclination to set up an investigation. The de facto Hamas administration in Gaza has stopped firing indiscriminate rockets into civilian areas in southern Israel but only as a temporary measure and without renouncing the practice which Judge Goldstone declared to be a war crime.