In what has been the first statement after the op-ed article by Judge Richard Goldstone by a member of the UN Fact Finding mission on the Gaza conflict, Hina Jilani, affirmed nothing will change the substance of the original report submitted to the UN.
In an exclusive interview given to the Middle East Monitor (MEMO), the internationally recognized human rights lawyer dismissed claims that the op-ed article by Judge Richard Goldstone in the Washington Post (1 April 2011) would make any difference to the report. She said, "Ultimately, the UN Report would not have been any different to what it was".
Jilani, it would be recalled, served as the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders from 2000 to 2008. She was also appointed to the UN International Fact-Finding Commission on Darfur, Sudan in 2006.
Ms Jilani denies Goldstone's op-ed article expresses any actual regret. "Absolutely not; no process or acceptable procedure would invalidate the UN Report; if it does happen, it would be seen as a 'suspect move".
Looking ahead, she insisted the Report "is and remains an important report." She added that the UN Security Council now needs to investigate further to see how both parties - Israel and Hamas - have violated international law: "The UN cannot allow impunity to remain," she stressed, "and will have to act if it wants to remain a credible international governing body."
Although the fact finding report is often referred to as the 'Goldstone Report', the mission was actually comprised of four members. In addition Goldstone and Jilani, other members were Christine Chinkin, Professor of International Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Desmond Travers, a former colonel in the Irish Defence Forces and member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for International Criminal Investigations.