Georgetown University law professor Christina Cerna said the U.N.’s highest human rights body “killed” her candidacy as its expert on Palestine — despite her selection by a 5-member vetting committee — on account of her not being partial like William Schabas, whom the 47-nation council chose to chair its commission of inquiry on Gaza.
“I was selected as the consensus candidate of the Consultative Committee for the post of UN Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories earlier this year,” Cerna wrote in a comment on the blog of the European Journal of International Law, “but the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the League of Arab States both officially opposed me, which killed my candidacy.”
“They opposed me… because I had never said anything pro-Palestinian and consequently was not known to be ‘partial’ enough to win their support. The candidate that they officially supported was considered to be partial in their favor.”
“No other special procedures mandate is similarly biased,” wrote Cerna, who is the principal human rights specialist at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
“In my view Israel has a unique status in the UN Human Rights Council. “Impartiality is not a requirement sought by the Council for the appointment of experts when it comes to Israel.”
Significantly, the former top candidate to be the UNHRC’s Special Rapporteur for human rights in Palestine stated that William Schabas was chosen to head the Gaza inquiry precisely because of his prior prejudicial statements”
“I don’t think Bill Schabas could have been selected to lead the “independent” inquiry if he hadn’t made the comments he had made about Netanyahu.
Cerna now joins numerous other legal scholars and human rights activists who believe Schabas’ tenure is inconsistent with the impartiality principle.