U.N. Panel Says Israel Is Obstructing Its Investigation of the Oct. 7 Attack

Members of a United Nations commission said on Tuesday that Israel was obstructing their efforts to investigate possible human rights violations on Oct. 7 and in the ensuing war between Israel and Hamas. But they said the commission had still shared large amounts of evidence with the International Criminal Court.

“We have faced not merely a lack of cooperation but active obstruction of our efforts to receive evidence from Israeli witnesses and victims” related to the Oct. 7 attack, Chris Sidoti, one of three members of the commission, told a briefing for diplomats in Geneva. The commission was formed in 2021 to investigate human rights violations in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Israel has accused the commission of bias, and has said it would not cooperate with what it described as “an anti-Israeli, antisemitic body.”

It has not allowed the commission to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories, and in January it instructed Israeli medical personnel who treated released hostages and victims of the Oct. 7 attack not to cooperate with the panel, which is led by Navi Pillay, the former United Nations human rights chief.

Ms. Pillay said the commission had investigated crimes committed by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups, as well as by Israeli forces in Gaza. She said that in line with the commission’s mandate from the U.N. Human Rights Council to seek accountability for such crimes, it had shared over 5,000 documents, including video and other material, with the I.C.C., which tries individuals on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The I.C.C. opened an investigation into potential crimes in Gaza and the West Bank in March 2021, but it has faced criticism from some lawyers for its lack of visible progress toward prosecutions. The court is not part of the U.N. system.

“We look forward to, and expect to see, progress on the I.C.C. investigations this year,” Ms. Pillay said.

The commission is set to report its findings on the Gaza conflict to the Human Rights Council in Geneva in June and to the U.N. General Assembly in October.

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