UN investigator sees evidence of war crimes in Gaza | International | Reuters:
By Jonathan Lynn
GENEVA, Jan 22 (Reuters) - There is evidence that Israel committed war crimes during its 22-day campaign in the Gaza Strip and there should be an independent inquiry, U.N. investigator Richard Falk said on Thursday.
The mental anguish of the civilians who suffered the assault is so great that the entire population of Gaza could be seen as casualties, said Falk, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Falk, speaking by phone from his home in California, said compelling evidence that Israel's actions in Gaza violated international humanitarian law required an independent investigation into whether they amounted to war crimes.
"I believe that there is the prima facie case for reaching that conclusion," he told a Geneva news conference.
Falk said Israel had made no effort to allow civilians to escape the fighting.
"'To lock people into a war zone is something that evokes the worst kind of international memories of the Warsaw Ghetto, and sieges that occur unintentionally during a period of wartime,' Falk, who is Jewish, said, referring to the starvation and murder of Warsaw's Jews by Nazi Germany in World War Two."