United Nations investigators have recently undertaken the initial stages of "special examination" ahead of the potential listing of the Israeli military on a 'list of shame' of armed forces guilty of grave violations against children.
The Secretary-General's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict (SRSG-CAAC) initiated the review as follow up to the annual report on children and armed conflict published in July. However, the "special examination" was not announced publicly by Ms Virginia Gamba, the current SRSG-CAAC mandate holder.
At the time, the failure to list Israeli forces – despite severe and well-documented violations committed against Palestinian children, including casualties in the context of the Great Return March – was heavily criticised by human rights activists.
However, in a press conference at the time, when asked whether she would be able to conduct a follow-up visit before the end of 2019 – which could ultimately lead to a retroactive listing of the Israeli military – SRSG-CAAC Virginia Gamba replied in the affirmative.
According to a source within a child rights organisation working on monitoring grave violations against children in the occupied Palestinian territory, civil society actors have not yet been informed of any outcome of the particular examination.
The source expressed concern over transparency in the decision-making process of the SRSG-CAAC and Secretary-General, following repeated failures to list Israeli forces over the years, despite extensive evidence of violations including unlawful killings.
That concern over transparency is what is driving the desire of human rights activists and NGO workers on the ground to have the special examination made public.
Parties placed on the list are required by the UN Security Council "to sign and carry out an action plan with the UN to end their violations against children", with "parties that refuse to sign or carry out an action plan…subject to sanctions, including arms embargoes, travel bans, and asset freezes".