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16 October 200918:43

Statement by the Delegation of the Russian Federation in Explanation of Vote on the 12th UN Human Rights Council Special Session Resolution “The Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”


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The Russian Federation voted for the draft final resolution of the special session of the UN Human Rights Council. Yet we would like to state our position regarding the Council's decision.

We regret that three separate different problems were artificially incorporated into it. The questions set out in sections A and C (the archaeological excavations in Jerusalem's Temple Mount area and the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory) are traditionally present in the Council's work and their discussion does not evoke great disagreements in the international community. Russia has always stood in solidarity with the position of most countries on this issue and supported the relevant provisions this time too.

Meanwhile, section B of the resolution concerning the report of Richard Goldstone's mission contains several provisions which we find it hard to accept. We are extremely disappointed that the sponsors did not consider it necessary to amend this part of the resolution with regard to the compromise language achieved at the 12th session of the HRC, thus bringing to naught the efforts of several states, including Russia, to find workable compromises.

It is known that Russia supported the decision of the HRC to establish an international fact-finding mission to investigate violations of international law during the conflict in the Gaza Strip in December 2008-January 2009. The Goldstone report needs further study both by states and by the HRC.

Many of the recommendations of the report, including criticisms of the actions of Hamas-controlled security forces, as well as provisions relating to the observance of international human rights law and international humanitarian law in general, appear justified. However, a number of proposals in the document go beyond the scope of the mission. This applies particularly to the recommendations addressed to the UN Security Council and the International Criminal Court and the call upon states to prosecute the perpetrators of war crimes during the conflict in Gaza, under universal jurisdiction.

We oppose the referral of the report to the UN Security Council. We believe that it is the UN Human Rights Council that constitutes the platform in the format which this report should be considered. Nor do we believe it is advisable to draw international judicial bodies into the investigation. We are certain that one of the most effective and efficient ways to implement the recommendations of the mission would be for the Israeli and Palestinian sides to hold their own internal investigations of the violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law during the conflict as listed in the report of the mission.

With that in mind, if section B of the resolution was put to a separate vote, then the Russian Federation would have abstained from it.

October 16, 2009