Journal Article

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Lebanon

James G. Stewart

in Journal of International Criminal Justice

Volume 5, issue 5, pages 1039-1059
Published in print November 2007 | ISSN: 1478-1387
Published online November 2007 | e-ISSN: 1478-1395 | DOI:
The UN Commission of Inquiry on Lebanon

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In the wake of the Second Lebanon conflict, the UN Human Rights Council established an independent body of experts to investigate alleged violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) perpetrated by Israeli forces. The Commission's report suffers from one serious and conspicuous flaw — the Commission was not charged with simultaneously considering Hezbollah's violations of the same body of law. In some instances, this one-sided focus was not only politically unbalanced, but substantively inadequate since a full understanding of Hezbollah's command structure, strategic objectives and military operations was essential in determining whether targets destroyed by Israel were legitimate military objectives and whether consequences for civilians were disproportionate to the military advantage gained. Be that as it may, the Commission's final report testified to the excessive, indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force by Israeli forces and an overall lack of respect for the cardinal principles regulating the conduct of armed conflict. The Commission's findings are particularly disquieting, given the independent nature of the investigation and, ultimately, the compatibility of much of the Commission's legal reasoning with orthodox interpretations of IHL. The legal issues raised by the Inquiry are therefore of ongoing importance, most notably for the Israeli-appointed Winograd Committee.

Journal Article.  8845 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law ; International Law

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