GENEVA – The U.N. Human Rights Council voted Friday to endorse a Gaza war crimes report that calls on Israel and Hamas to carry out credible investigations into alleged abuses — or face possible referral to international war crimes prosecutors. The move — which was opposed by six nations, including the United States — means Israel could find itself facing a request at the U.N. Security Council to refer the case to prosecutors at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, a move likely to be blocked by Washington. Still, Friday’s decision could have far-reaching implications for the way the global body deals with war crimes claims, experts said. It also keeps attention on the report, compiled by an expert panel chaired by respected South African jurist Richard Goldstone, just as President Barack Obama tries to restart the Middle East peace process. Almost 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed during the Dec. 27-Jan. 18 conflict. The 575-page document concluded that Israel used disproportionate force, deliberately targeted civilians, used Palestinians as human shields and destroyed civilian infrastructure during its incursion into the Gaza Strip to root out Palestinian rocket squads. It also accused Palestinian armed groups including Hamas, which controls… Read full this story
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