Gaza flotilla report: Israeli interception "clearly unlawful"
An investigative report Wednesday from the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that Israel's military interception of a flotilla of aid ships bound for the Gaza Strip in May was "clearly unlawful" and violent, dpa reported.
The report from Geneva is separate from an investigation ordered by the UN Security Council in New York following the May 31 incident on the high seas off Gaza, in which eight Turkish nationals and one Turkish American were killed during the Israeli interception.
The three-member probe panel set up by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has been working separately from the Geneva investigation.
The report from a Human Rights Council mission that investigated the incident reached the "firm conclusion that a humanitarian crisis existed on May 31, 2010, in Gaza Strip."
"The preponderance of evidence from impeccable sources is far too overwhelming to come to a contrary conclusion," the report said.
It said the action from the Israeli Defence Forces on the Mavi Marmara, the main ship in the flotilla, "in the circumstances and for the reasons given on the high sea was clearly unlawful."
"Specifically the action cannot be justified in the circumstances under Article 51 of the UN Charter," the report said, citing the article that allows a nation to take arms in self-defence.
Israel had justified the military action as a means to maintain its arms blockade of the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by the militant Hamas Islamist movement.
"The conduct of the Israeli military and other personnel towards the flotilla passengers was not only disproportionate to the occasion but demonstrated levels of totally unnecessary and incredible violence," the report said.
"It betrayed an unacceptable level of brutality."