Ex-N.Y. judge tapped for U.N. panel investigating Israel

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Former New York state Supreme Court judge Mary McGowan Davis was appointed to the U.N. Human Rights Council panel investigating Israel for possible war crimes in Gaza.

McGowan Davis was named Monday to the Commission of Inquiry by Baudelaire Ndong Ella of Gabon, who heads the Human Rights Council. She replaces Amal Alamuddin, a British attorney and the fiancee of actor George Clooney who declined her nomination earlier this month.

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The commission is tasked with investigating violations of international human rights and humanitarian law since Israel launched its military operation in Gaza in early July, according to a statement from the council.

Its chairman is William Schabas, a Canadian international law professor who has been accused of bias against Israel. Former U.N. racism investigator Doudou Diene of Senegal also is a member of the panel created in July at the request of the Palestinians, as well as Arab and Muslim states.

The council requested that the commission present a written report at Human Rights Council meeting in March.

McGowan Davis was the chair of a United Nations committee of independent experts who made recommendations following the release of the Goldstone Report on Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009.