EXTRA: UN expert condemns Israel for strikes on Gaza
( dpa ) - The UN expert on human rights in the Palestinian territories accused Israel of cowardice Saturday and called for those responsible for targeting government offices near a wedding venue to face war crime trials.
The special rapporteur John Dugard condemned the killing of more than 30 Palestinians in the past week in a statement issued in Geneva.
He said Israel must have been aware that a wedding celebration was under way close to the government offices destroyed in an strike.
Dugard said: " Israel must have known about the wedding party in Gaza near to the interior ministry when it launched missiles at the ministry building.
"Those responsible for such cowardly action are guilty of serious war crimes and should be prosecuted and punished for their crimes."
He said what must have been "foreseen loss of life and injury to civilians" and the closure of all crossings into Gaza raised "very serious questions about Israel's respect for international law and its commitment to the peace process."
Israel had breached the Geneva Convention and international humanitarian law by failing to distinguish between military and civilian targets, he added.
Israel claims its strikes on the Gaza Strip are aimed at Palestinian squads who have fired more 130 home-made rockets into southern Israel.