NGO Monitor’s legal advisor and UN expert Anne Herzberg and barrister Joshua Kern of 9BR Chambers have co-authored a letter to United Nations Human Rights Council President Federico Villegas calling on him to initiate an assessment of the UNHRC’s Commission of Inquiry on Israel for violations of the mandate and UN codes of conduct.
The letter identifies several concerns regarding the COI’s work to date, notably breaches of the Commission’s duties of impartiality, non-discrimination, and transparency.
Notably, the letter addresses multiple troubling statements by each of the Commissioners about Jews and the nature of antisemitism, including the appearance by Commission member Miloon Kothari on a podcast where he appeared to invoke antisemitic tropes, and questioned why Israel was a UN member State. His comments drew concern from UNHRC President Villegas and UN Secretary-General António Guterres but were defended by Navi Pillay, Chair of the Commission.
Anne Herzberg, NGO Monitor Legal Advisor and co-author of the letter to President Villegas notes, “The President of the Council has the authority to convene an examination of special mandates like that of the COI. Since it has been empaneled, the COI has breached its duties of impartiality and non-discrimination, the duty to investigate even-handedly, and has acted without transparency. It is for these reasons that we are calling on President Villegas at the September UNHRC session to initiate an assessment of the COI to ensure that the Commission is held accountable to the Council for these violations.”
NGO Monitor is a project of The Institute for NGO Research, a recognized organization in Special Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council (since 2013).