The U.N. Human Rights Council Friday endorsed a Gaza Strip war crimes report and send it to the Security Council, likely setting up international prosecution of Israelis and Palestinians accused of war crimes. According to the AP, the council passed a Palestinian-backed resolution after two days of debate on the Goldstone report.
The resolution approved by 25-6, with mostly developing countries in favor and the United States and five European countries — Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia and Ukraine - opposing. Eleven mostly European and African countries abstained, while Britain, France and three other members of the 47-nation body declined to vote. Russia and China, two permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, were among those voting yes.
"The clock on the report starts now," reacted Ibrahim Khraishi, the Palestinian Authority's U.N. envoy to Geneva, adding that he hoped the Security Council in New York would take up the report.
If the report is considered by the 15-member Security Council, the U.S. is likely to use its veto to block any call for getting the International Criminal Court involved in the dispute over Gaza.
In Ramallah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, welcomed Friday's vote. "What is important now is to translate words into deeds in order to protect our people in the future from any new aggression," Nabil Abu Rdeneh said.
The resolution — which also condemns recent Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem — endorses the report's recommendation that both sides in the conflict should show the Security Council within six months that they are carrying out credible probes into alleged Gaza abuses. If they are not, the matter should then be referred to prosecutors at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.