The United Nations are at it again.
Tim Marshall says in his commentary on this latest issue, “Imagine: You’re on trial and you discover the judge appointed to hear the case has already decided you are guilty and has a long history of publicly saying so.”
In this instance it revolves around the UN Human Rights Council’s first choice to become the new Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian territories.
Criminologist, Penny Green, is a professor of law and globalisation at Queen Mary University of London. Her views on Israel are well documented. She is on record as saying that Israel has a “criminal government”, and she believes it is “time to stand up against Israeli state violence”.
She supports the total boycott of Israel, wants Hamas de-listed as a terrorist organisation, and has wondered why the British and Americans have not begun “bombing Israel for its massacres”.
Her opinion she may rightly be entitled to. However, surely anyone, even if they supported these views, might understand that holding them disqualifies you from impartially judging the behaviour of one of principle parties.
The Rapporteurs job as mandated by a 1993 resolution is not to investigate all human rights abuses in Palestine, but only “Israel’s violations”. However, the UN claim that subsequent procedural changes do not make this stipulation and therefore “it would be perfectly conceivable for a mandate holder to interpret the mandate in a proactive manner… In short, this does not restrict the mandate holder from investigating Palestinian violations as well”.
Nevertheless, in the past eight years of 36 statements and reports by the Rapporteur, all 36 have only criticised Israel. No other conflict is investigated by the UN in this twisted manner.
Even if you left that ludicrous prejudice to one side, there would still be a problem. The UNHCR’s own rules state that when selecting a candidate, impartiality and objectivity is of “paramount importance”.
The council’s first choice should come as no surprise. The incumbent in the job is from Indonesia, a country that does not accept the right of one side in the conflict to exist. His predecessor was a 9/11 conspiracy theorist.
The council’s chair normally accepts the candidate recommendation. This is planned to happen on March 24. If a fuss is made, perhaps the compromise could be the second choice, a Canadian lawyer called Michael Lynk, whose views on Israel are, coincidentally, similar to those of Prof Green!