Report by U.N. panel probing Gaza war crimes postponed for 3 months

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — The U.N. panel investigating possible war crimes during last summer’s Gaza conflict has received a three-month extension to present its report.

The report of the Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict was due to be published this month but was postponed to June, according to the United Nations. The panel had asked for the postponement.

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“The commissioners have indicated their desire for more time in order to assess the information that they have collected – much of which has only been received in recent weeks,” a commission spokeswoman said. “These are complex issues – weighing the facts and considering the legal questions that arise is something that should not be rushed under any circumstances.”

The delay comes in part because of the resignation last month of the former head of the commission, William Schabas, after Israel provided evidence to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva that he had authored a seven-page legal opinion on behalf of the PLO for which he was paid.

Panel member Mary McGowan Davis, a former justice of the Supreme Court of New York, was named to replace Schabas, whom Israeli officials and Jewish groups accused of anti-Israel bias following his appointment. The only other panel member is Doudou Dienne of Senegal, a former United Nations watchdog on racism and on post-conflict in the Ivory Coast.

Israel refused to cooperate with the investigation, including denying entry to members of the commission, though some Israelis did testify before the committee members.