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UN top official backs Goldstone report on Gaza

The United Nations top human rights official has backed a report accusing Israeli forces and Palestinian militants of war crimes during their conflict in the Gaza Strip.

Navi Pillay's endorsement of the report by an expert group led by South African judge Richard Goldstone came as Israel warned the UN Human Rights Council that approving the document risked undermining Middle East peace.

Pillay told the 47-member council in Geneva that she supported the report's recommendations, "including its call for urgent action to counter impunity" - meaning that Israel and Hamas must investigate and prosecute those who committed war crimes.

In a related development, Pillay and Goldstone, head of the UN fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict, were in the Swiss capital, Bern, on Thursday at the annual political affairs meeting of the foreign ministry.

Defending the findings, Goldstone told swissinfo.ch: "I think such a report will contribute to the peace process." He also said he believed many of its critics hadn't even read the report.

Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey said failure to adequately deal with the past could revive conflicts.

Switzerland seeks to prevent the resurgence of conflict through its commitment to helping post-conflict societies make amends, a foreign ministry statement said.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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