UN rights body names panel to probe Israel, Palestinians

GENEVA — The U.N.’s former top human rights official will be part of a new permanent panel investigating abuses in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, the U.N. Human Rights Council said Thursday.

The chairperson of the 47-member Human Rights Council appointed Navi Pillay, a former South African judge, to lead a commission of inquiry established following the 11-day conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas in May.

Pillay, who served as U.N. high commissioner for human rights from 2008 to 2014, is currently a judge at the International Court of Justice tribunal examining allegations of genocide in Myanmar.

The commission’s other members are Miloon Kothari, an architect and expert on housing rights from India, and Chris Sidoti of Australia, who has served on panels investigating abuses in Myanmar.

Israel has criticized the panel’s creation and accused the Geneva-based Human Rights Council of bias against the Jewish state.

The panel’s mandate is to investigate “all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up to and since 13 April 2021”.

It has been asked to submit a report to the council in June 2022, and every year after that.