UN’s Gaza Flotilla Incident Investigation Moves to Turkey

By Marco t'Hoen
Marco t'Hoen
Marco t'Hoen
August 23, 2010 Updated: August 24, 2010

The three-person fact-finding mission of the United Nations Human Rights Council into the Gaza flotilla raid is moving from Geneva to Turkey and Jordan to interview witnesses and government officials, the U.N. announced Monday.

The chairman of the panel is Judge Karl T. Hudson-Phillips, a former judge with the International Criminal Court; the mission is accompanied by legal and technical specialists.

In Geneva the panel drafted terms of reference and spoke with Turkish and Israeli ambassadors and last week began interviewing witnesses in Geneva and London.

The panel will spend two weeks in Turkey and Jordan interviewing witnesses and officials. The mission is slated to present its findings at the U.N. Council's next session beginning Sept. 13.

Besides this mission and Israel’s national inquiry, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has initiated a four-member panel of inquiry to examine and identify the context, the circumstances, and facts of the flotilla raid.

An Israeli and Turkish representative are part of this panel, which will review the reports of national investigations and seek clarity where needed. The panel aims to have an interim report by Sept. 15.

Since 2007, Israel has enforced a blockade against Gaza to prevent Hamas militants from obtaining weapons to be used against Israel.

On May 31 the Israeli navy intercepted six Gaza-bound ships carrying supplies. Nine Turkish activists died when the navy boarded one of the ships, the Mavi Marmara, and encountered unexpected resistance.

Marco t'Hoen