Dear friends of WIAMEP:
As you may be aware, the United Nations Human Rights Council has appointed Justice Richard Goldstone of South Africa to undertake an inquiry regarding alleged violations of humanitarian law in Gaza during the period of 27 December 2008 to18 January 2009 and also to make the same inquiry regarding rocket firing into Israel. I ask you to contact your Members of Congress and ask them to write to Secretary of State Clinton asking that the U.S. publicly support the inquiry and urge Israel and the administering authority in Gaza to cooperate with the inquiry. Below is the letter by the President of United Nations Association of the National Capital Area to Secretary Clinton making this request and explaining the basis of this request.
There are several reasons for the U.S. to support the Justice Goldstone Mission:
1. As the attached bio of Justice Goldstone indicates he is a person for considerable international stature, well recognized as an expert in international law, and someone who can be trusted to undertake a credible report;
2. Justice Goldstone is a member of the Board of Governors of Hebrew University in Israel, is Jewish, and is clearly a friend of Israel, thus ensuring his report will be fair;
3. The mission is not one-sided: Justice Goldstone will investigate alleged violations by both Israel and Hamas;
4. The U.S. has criticized the UN Human Rights Council as being biased against Israel: This inquiry does not commit that failing, in fact quite the opposite;
5. Were the U.S. not to support the inquiry, U.S. credibility in the field of international human rights would be adversely affected; and
6. The U.S. has just been elected to the UN Human Rights Council; its support for the mission would strengthen its credibility and effectiveness in the Council.
Please feel free to bcc to me your letter to your Member of Congress and Senators and, of course, I would be especially interested in what you receive from them as well.
U.S. support for the Goldstone Mission is more likely if Secretary Clinton receives many requests to that effect. Your letter counts! Thanks in advance for your support!
John P. Salzberg, President
Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace
PO Box 42144
5636 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20015-2604
Justice Richard J. Goldstone is a director of the International Center for Transitional Justice, Human Rights Watch, the Center for Economic and Social Rights, the Institute for Transitional Justice and Reconciliation and Physicians for Human Rights, and he is on the advisory board of the Project on Justice in Times of Transition. For many years he has served as a governor of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
He has been a visiting professor at NYU Law School, Fordham Law School, Georgetown Law School and Harvard Law School. He is currently the Spinoza Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in The Hague. After graduating from the University of the Witwatersrand with a BA LLB cum laude, Goldstone practiced as an advocate at the Johannesburg Bar. In 1976 he was appointed senior counsel and in 1980 was made a judge of the Transvaal Supreme Court. In 1989 he was appointed to the Appellate Division. From 1991 to 1994 he served as the chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry Regarding Public Violence and Intimidation, which came to be known as the Goldstone Commission.
He served as a judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa from July 1994 to October 2003. From 15 August 1994 to September 1996 he served as the chief prosecutor of the United Nations' International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. From August 1999 until December 2001 he was the chairperson of the International Independent Inquiry on Kosovo. In December 2001 he was appointed the co-chairperson of the International Task Force on Terrorism, which was established by the International Bar Association. In April 2004 the secretary-general of the United Nations appointed Goldstone to the independent committee to investigate the Iraqi oil-for-food programme (the Volcker Committee). In October 2007 he was appointed by the Registrars of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda to chair an Advisory Committee on the Archiving of the Documents and Records of the two tribunals.
Justice Goldstone is the recipient of several international human rights awards and most recently the MacArthur Foundation Award for International Justice to be presented at The Hague on 25 May 2009.
The full text of the Council's decision and the bio's of members of the Mission is on