Investigations under international humanitarian law
Sasha Radin and Michael N. Schmitt
Routledge handbook of the law of armed conflict
London ; New York : Routledge, 2016
Release of the Goldstone Report on Israel’s 2008 Operation Cast Lead in Gaza focused the international community’s attention on the nature and scope of the duty to investigate alleged breaches of international humanitarian law (IHL). The report controversially condemned the manner in which Israel conducted investigations into IHL violations allegedly committed during the conflict. Several additional reports followed. Chief among these were a Human Rights Watch examination of the conflict generally and a UN Human Rights Council assessment of Israeli and Palestinian investigations. Such reports highlight a growing tendency on the part of governments, international bodies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to pronounce on the success or failure of parties to armed conflicts in investigating and prosecuting alleged war crimes. Sensitive to this reality, the Israeli government tasked an independent commission to examine Israeli compliance with the international law governing investigations. Such scrutiny of the relevant legal norms has led to a more refined understanding of what the duty to investigate under IHL entails. The chapter examines the law governing the duty to investigate and how it operates in cases of possible IHL violations.
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