Gaza 21: UNHRC Commission of Inquiry – People are urged to make submissions even though the ‘dice seem loaded’

January 9, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Anne Bayefsky of Human Rights Voices has urged people to make submissions to the UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry.

Ian Dunwoodie

She set out her concerns in a recent article

The newly-created Commission of Inquiry is considering the 11-day conflict between Gaza and Israel in May last year dubbed by the IDF as Operation Guardian of the Walls.

Ian Dunwoodie of Wellington has taken up her suggestion.

He said, “The Human Rights Council has a poor record towards Israel. It does not seem capable of being even-handed and impartial.”

“This Inquiry looks to be in the same vein. Nowhere in the terms of reference, nor the resolution setting up the Inquiry does it mention Hamas, the organisation that fired over 4000 rockets towards civilians during those 11 days.”

“Based on the history of the Council and the three people heading up the Inquiry – Navi Pillay, Millon Kothari and Chris Sidoti – whom some would say have a track record of partisanship and hostility towards Israel – it seems wishful to think Israel will get a fair hearing.”

“To me, it looks like ‘loaded dice’.”

“The terms of reference are so broad there is no way it will be limited to the 11 days of conflict. I suspect it will trawl through everything that has happened in the region since 1948, and of course, apportion blame.”

“And the Inquiry is ‘ongoing’. This is a first and really means ‘never ending’. Once the initial report is completed, due June, the Commission will no doubt produce many more reports. It seems this new tool will be around for many years to incite against Israel”.

“I have taken up the excellent suggestion of Anne Bayefsky, set out in her article, to make submissions. She is accommodating in navigating the process”.

“Although, again, to me, it looks like ‘loaded dice’. The Inquiry Secretariat has declined to even acknowledge the receipt of submissions. Some might consider this as part of a wider process to ‘bury’ contributions that do not fit into a ‘pre-determined narrative’.”

“So far I have made nine submissions. That said, I have simply sourced articles in the public domain – articles by others – who in my opinion portray events in an even-handed and balanced way. I am simply making use of the clear and incisive thinking of others. This will ensure such accounts are part of the public record.”

“These submissions may well be ‘side-lined’, or even ‘buried’, but they will still be on record. And if there is no reference to even-handed submissions by me and others in the Report it will be easier to make the case that the contents of the Report were pre-determined, and are biased and partisan”.

“So like Anne Bayefsky, I am urging people to make submissions. Given the timeframes involved it has been recommended that they be made by February, and really, as soon as possible”.


Ian Dunwoodie is enrolled as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand. His submissions to the Commission of Inquiry are made in his personal capacity. Anyone seeking a steer on the submission process can contact him at


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