UN hearings to be held on Gaza war crimes
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Human Rights /World Peace and Security - Fri Jun 05 2009
Source: BBC News
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A UN team investigating possible war crimes in Gaza says it will hold public hearings with victims of the conflict in Gaza and Geneva later this month.

The team has spent the week interviewing witnesses and visiting sites damaged in Israel's three-week offensive, which ended on 18 January.

Richard Goldstone, who is heading the team, said it had hoped to hold hearings in Israel and the West Bank.

But Israel has refused to co-operate in the inquiry, accusing it of bias.

Israel charges the UN Human Rights Council - which has a record of criticising Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians - with singling it out unfairly.

Mr Goldstone said his 15-member team had visited 40 sites in Gaza and spoken to some 70 witnesses and relatives of victims. It had hoped to visit southern Israeli towns hit by Palestinian rocket fire, but was not allowed access.

Mr Goldstone said he hoped Israel's refusal to co-operate would not weaken the report, due for publication in September.

"If we haven't dealt with facts that Israel would like us to deal with, I think we can hardly be blamed for that," he added, according to news agency AP.

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