Thursday, July 09, 2015

  • Thursday, July 09, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
William Schabas, the original chair of the UNHRC commission designed to malign Israel's conduct in the Gaza war last summer,  appeared on BBC's HardTalk to defend himself from accusations of bias and to defend the report that he started before he was forced to resign:

His defense of his desire to investigate Israel despite his bias is laughable.

The criticism that many leveled against him is that the appearance of bias is enough to disqualify anyone in his position. Two examples of many from UN Watch:

  • Joseph Weiler, President of the European University Institute in Florence, the European Union Jean Monnet Chair at New York University School of Law, and Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of International Law,described Schabas’ tenure on the commission of inquiry as “a self-evident case where an appearance of impartiality might be created… When the appearance of justice is compromised, so is justice itself.”
  • Lord David Pannick, QC, a leading UK human rights lawyer and former High Court judge—whom Schabas has often cited as a legal authority [1]—published an article in The Times that sharply criticized Schabas’ appointment given his prior record of prejudicial statements. Lord Pannick stated the legal principle that a person should not sit in a judicial or quasi-judicial role “if the fair-minded and informed observer, having considered the facts, would conclude that there was a real possibility that the tribunal was biased.” The very “appearance of bias,” noted Pannick, is sufficient to disqualify a person. Schabas’ protestations that he would leave his opinions “at the door” were, under the legal principles of impartiality, “unlikely to be helpful.”
But Schabas bizarrely claims that there was no appearance of bias (8:10) - but that there was an outside campaign charging him of an appearance of bias.

Schabas explicitly admits that he is biased, He participated in a kangaroo court charging Israel of war crimes. He was paid by the PLO for services. He embraced comparisons between Zionism and Nazism when speaking with his friends, antisemite Richard Falk. He applied to become Falk's replacement as special rapporteur to Gaza. But this isn't the appearance of bias - it is only the charge of the appearance of bias. And, as he goes n to say, the people accusing him of this are just a bunch of Zionists.

And Zionists are "our enemies."

Unfortunately, the Hardtalk host didn't press him on this bizarre distinction that exists only in his head between "appearance of bias" and "charges of appearance of bias." And he then accuses those who accuse him of having an appearance of bias of being Zionists.

Schabas then goes on to defend the UNHRC's pattern of anti-Israel bias by claiming, even more bizarrely, that even though more than half of UNHRC resolutions are against Israel, that the commission actually spends less than 1/193 of its time on Israel. (13:40)

He is lying. As UN Watch notes:
The Council’s fixation with Israel is not limited to resolutions. Israel is the only country listed on the Council’s permanent agenda (Item 7). Moreover, Israel is the only country subjected to an investigatory mandate that examines the actions of only one side, presumes those actions to be violations, and which is not subject to regular review.
Finally, Schabas responded to the report by international generals and politicians who said Israel was not guilty of war crimes by purposefully misusing the word "intent" from its legal meaning in the Geneva Conventions when determining if an action by a military commander is proportional and if that commander employs the principle of distinction.

Schabas knows the laws of war well, and his misuse of that term here shows that he was never suited to judge Israel of anything.

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