OK, try Indonesia, visited by the UN Security Council in 2000. I am citing this as a recent example of UN examination of a strong government which is a United States ally. The UN also has had commissions examining war crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, but these maybe are not such good examples because they are governments that were defeated militarily or overthrown.
My OP referred to international human rights bodies in general and not just the UN, which does have a bias in favor of established governments and tends to be hardest on governments that have been safely defeated or overthrown. It is the non-governmental bodies, such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and regional organizations, that do most of the investigating. Most governments do not cooperate fully, but they are respectful enough of international opinion to allow the investigators to enter. (That is, when they don’t murder the investigators, like in Indonesia and El Salvador.)
I wonder if Israel would allow an NGO commission into Jenin, or if they would also claim “bias” there. I wonder just what kind of investigating body would be acceptable, if it weren’t one that was pre-disposed to exonerate Israel.
Maybe Israel finds itself so much in dutch with the UN precisely because it has a history of ignoring Security Council resolutions. Sort of reminds me of a repeat offender who claims the police are biased against him when he keeps getting caught. The problem is Israel flouting international law, not UN “bias.”
For that matter, if the UN is so tainted with bias, why would Israel agree, even in principle, to ANY investigation under UN auspices, no matter what its composition was? The actions and statements of the Sharon cabinet smack of pure disingenuousness.
Of course it is not acceptable to covertly dispose of complaints against other countries, as cited in Sam Stone’s examples. But I thought Israel, styling itself as the “only democracy in the Middle East,” held itself to a higher standard than these other countries. What does a democracy have to fear from the truth?
clairobscur has a good point about the US not ratifying international human rights treaties, but the US is mainly against US personnel being tried by international bodies, NOT against them being tried or questioned at all. At least Lt. Calley was prosecuted for My Lai. (I agree that the US stance is hypocritical.) How can Israel refuse to even question its military personnel, as cited in my OP?
I do not agree with Sam Stone that Israeli troops were unusually careful to avoid civilian casualties. Routinely shooting to kill anyone who ventures outside for food or to hang up their laundry, blocking medical care and rescue vehicles, and destroying buildings with people in them, are indeed atrocities. Burying people in anonymous mass graves, and looting and despoiling civilian property, are also crimes. I don’t think all those witnesses are lying. (Cites at the bottom of this post.)
But if I’m wrong, why not let the commission in so they can see for themselves?
And if the commission comes to the “wrong” conclusions, then why can’t Israel just give a rebuttal afterwards and state exactly why the conclusion was flawed?
But, saying the commission WILL INEVITABLY come to an anti-Israel conclusion – well, that sounds like there’s something to hide.
And why keep the press out? Why bury bodies?
WHAT ARE THEY AFRAID OF?
(Sorry for the lack of links, but many major daily papers only provide archives on a pay basis. )
Boudreaux, Richard. “Israeli army accused of atrocities.” Los Angeles Times, April 12, 2002.
Moore, Molly, and Hockstader, Lee. “Controversy swirls over Jenin battle.” Washington Post, April 12, 2002.
Miller, T. Christian. " ‘They forced me to hate.’ " Los Angeles Times, April 15, 2002.
Lamb, David. “Couple believed bedroom could be their grave.” Los Angeles Times, April 15, 2002.
Also the LA Weekly, at http://www.laweekly.com/ink/02/22/news-rabbani.shtml