U.N. panel probing Israel to include George Clooney’s fiancee

Julie Wiener

(JTA) – Amal Alamuddin, a British attorney and the fiancee of actor George Clooney, will serve on a U.N. commission investigating Israel for possible war crimes in Gaza.

Alamuddin, who was the legal adviser to the prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and has represented WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, will be part of a three-person panel of inquiry, the United Nations Human Rights Council said Monday.

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The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said the commission is charged with investigating “all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law” in the recent conflict in Gaza.

William Schabas, a Canadian international law professor, will chair the commission, which also includes Doudo Diene, a Senegalese attorney who advised the U.N. on the human rights situation in the Ivory Coast from 2011 to this year.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry slammed the selection of Schabas as chairman, saying in a statement that his “opinions and positions on Israel are known to all,” according to the Times of Israel.

Choosing Schabas, the ministry said, “proves beyond any doubt that Israel cannot expect justice from this body, and that the committee’s report is already written. What has just been determined is who will sign it.”

The leader of UN Watch, a nongovernmental organization that monitors the world body, called on Schabas to recuse himself because his “repeated calls to indict Israeli leaders obviously gives rise to actual bias or the appearance thereof.”

“You can’t spend several years calling for the prosecution of someone, and then suddenly act as his judge,” Hillel Neuer, the group’s executive director, said in a news release.

UN Watch also questioned the appointment of Alamuddin.

“She has some experience,” Neuer said, “but at 36 she will be the youngest ever to serve on any UN inquiry, raising suspicions that the UN is trying to inject some Hollywood publicity into the process.”