Since the beginning of September, NGO Monitor has been investigating questions relating to responsibility for researching and drafting the Goldstone report. The Mission’s webpage does not provide any information on this issue, and repeated requests by NGO Monitor to both Goldstone and the Fact Finding Mission office were ignored.
According to the Goldstone Report, “the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) established a secretariat to support the Mission” (para. 3) and based upon the information NGO Monitor has uncovered, it appears that employees at OHCHR were involved in the researching and drafting of the report. Members of the “Mission’s Secretariat were deployed in Gaza from 22 May to 4 July 2009 to conduct field investigations.” (para. 5). It appears that employees of OHCHR met with NGOs and witnesses to take testimony as well. For instance, the report notes that on 22 July, Mission members met with a representative of Magen David Adom in Geneva (n. 328). Yet, the four primary mission members (Goldstone, Chinkin, Jilani, Travers) were not present in Geneva on that date (para. 5).
The head of the Mission Secretariat is long-time UN OHCHR employee, Francesca Marotta. Marotta has served as Coordinator of the Methodology, Education and Training Unit, Research and Right to Development Branch and as the “UNHCHR officer responsible for the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” In 1997 and 1999, she held meetings with the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR).
Goldstone mission staff researcher, Sareta Ashraph, is a UK lawyer and a member of Amnesty International with a history of anti-Israel political activity. In 2003, she was an organizer for a Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights “lawfare” lecture given by Raji Sourani, head of PCHR, and chaired by Daniel Machover, the attorney responsible for filing PCHR’s 2005 case against Doron Almog and a leading proponent of lawfare. Ashraph also worked in the West Bank on “investigations of allegations of violations of international humanitarian law following ‘Operation Defensive Shield’ in 2002.”
Catherine Bremont, another employee of the OHCHR Secretariat, also appears to have been involved with the preparation of the report based on a review of the document’s properties. Her overall role for the Gaza Fact Finding Mission, however, is unknown.
NGO Monitor also notes that the report closely follows and adopts much of its text from NGO publications and submissions as reflected in over 500 citations to these sources. Thus, the authors were strongly linked to the NGO community.