Reflections on International Law and the Israel/Palestine Conflict: Presentation by the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory
Oct 30, 2023 — 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
In May 2021, the UN Human Rights Council decided to “urgently establish an ongoing, independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel, all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and abuses of international human rights law leading up to and since 13 April 2021”. The resolution further requested the commission of inquiry to “investigate all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity”.
Two of the three expert members of the Commission, former UN High Commissioner for Human RIghts Navanethem Pillay, and Australian international human rights lawyer Chris Sidoti will share an overview of their most recent report to the UN General Assembly, presented the week before this session. They will offer views about the extent to which disregard for international human rights law and international humanitarian law is at the heart of the current crisis in Israel and Gaza, and how respect for international law offers the roadmap to sustainable, peaceful solutions. The session will be moderated by Alex Neve, Senior Fellow with the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa and former Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada.
Registration is required.
This event will be in English.
Navanethem Pillay served as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2008 to 2014. She is currently serving as Judge Ad Hoc of the International Court of Justice in the Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (The Gambia v Myanmar). She is also the President of the International Commission Against the Death Penalty based in Madrid, the President of the Advisory Council of the International Nuremberg Principles Academy and the Chair of the Quasi-Judicial Inquiry into Detention in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. In 1995, after the end of apartheid, Pillay was appointed acting judge on the South African High Court, and in the same year was elected by the UN General Assembly to be judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, where she served a total of eight years (1999-2003), the last four as President. In 2003, she was appointed as a judge on the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where she served on the Appeals Chamber until 2008. Ms Pillay was the first woman to start a law practice in her home province of Natal in 1967 and acted as a defence lawyer for anti-apartheid activists, exposing torture, and helping establish rights for prisoners on Robben Island.
Chris Sidoti is an international human rights consultant and an expert in national human rights institutions and in international human rights law and mechanisms. Since February 2021, he is the founder and an International Expert of the Special Advisory Council for Myanmar. From 2017 to 2019, he served as one of the Members of the UN Independent International Fact Finding Mission on Myanmar. Since 2000, he has provided consultancy services on human rights law and practices to the OHCHR, UNDP, UNICEF, the Asia-Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions and several national human rights institutions. Sidoti also holds a number of academic positions. He was Executive Director of the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR; 2003-2007), served as Australian Human Rights Commissioner (1995-2000), Australian Law Reform Commissioner (1992-1995), and Founding Director of the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (1987-1992). From 1999 to 2013 he was principal facilitator and interlocutor in a human rights initiative between the Governments of Australia and Myanmar.
Alex Neve is an adjunct professor in international human rights law at the University of Ottawa and Dalhousie University, and a Senior Fellow with the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. He served as Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English Branch from 2000 – 2020. He is a lawyer, with a Master’s Degree in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex. Alex is an Officer of the Order of Canada.