Gerald Steinberg 2 (2)Click here to read full article.


Among its other faults, the UNHRC is very secretive – its reports are characterised by a lack of transparency, often written by unidentified persons with a worrying lack of political impartiality. For years, the secret authors of the 500-page document condemning Israel for “war crimes”, published as the Goldstone Investigation in 2009, were hidden.

Recently, however, Hillel Neuer, the head of UN Watch, published the results of detailed research showing that it was Grietje Baars who assembled the text of the Goldstone report (primarily from questionable NGO claims).

Like others in this network, Ms Baars is closely linked to powerful anti-Israel NGOs, such as the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and Swedish development charity Diakonia, helping them in campaigns to prosecute Israeli soldiers and officials.

The job of assembling the evidence and text under Mr Schabas was again done by a mysterious coterie of officials in Geneva, and has now been inherited by former US judge Mary McGowan Davis, who heads what is left of the Schabas commission.

Even though Ms McGowan Davis this week asked the UNHRC for an extra three months in which to prepare what will always be known as the Schabas report, it will be stained with its immoral foundation and secretive processes.

In terms of legal ethics, the appropriate decision would be to disband the commission and expose the farcical activities of the UNHRC. In addition, restoring transparency means full disclosure of the staff that is assembling this document, to avoid a repeat of the Baars-Goldstone embarrassment.