On July 28, 2014 the UN Mission of Israel in Geneva sent a letter to the President of the UN Human Rights Council regarding "multiple irregularities regarding preparation" of the special session held on July 23, 2014. The special session of the UN top human rights body commissioned the latest anti-Israel "inquiry" to condemn Israel's exercise of the right of self-defense in Gaza. Some of the rules breached during the session's preparation include the following:
- "LETTER OF REQUEST
According to article 121, the request to hold a Special Session should originate from a letter of request. In actuality such a letter was never circulated, nor was it sent to Israel, the concerned State. Further it was only published on the extranet at the express request of Israel, less than 24 hours before the Special Session was held.
- SUPPORT OF THE REQUEST
According to Rule 6 the Human Rights Council shall hold Special Session at the request of a member of the Council with the support of one third of its Members. The key which triggers action is the request, together with the 16 members supporting this request; however, one of these requirements was not met.
We received Note Verbale on July 18. On July 21 at 19:10, a second Note Verbale regarding the Session was sent informing recipients of a change in the Members supporting the request. It further stated that the delegation of Burkina Faso had signed 'the' request, giving impression it had stepped in to replace the withdrawal of Benin in order to keep a continuum of procedural correctness.
In reality, this apparent "swap" did not occur. There was actually a gap of several hours between one Member's withdrawal and the other Member's communication of support. To be clear, there was no quorum to keep the request valid and no country to instantly replace Benin. The very act of Benin withdrawing served to cancel the action to hold a Special Session, ipso-facto.
The Secretariat should have communicated, in a transparent and timely manner, that request presented on July 18 was therefore voided due to not meeting the minimum quorum required to support the request. Additionally, it should have issued communication informing that the subsequent occurrence of a new country joining a new list of sponsors (hours later) had generated a new request, dated July 21.
- DATE OF THE SPECIAL SESSION
Article 122 states that the Special Session should be convened after the formal receipt of the request, in principle not earlier than two working days. With the Note Verbale communicating the request on July 21, at 19:l0 hrs, the Secretariat failed to explain in a transparent or timely manner why was t till considering July 18 as the date of the formal receipt of the request, or holding the Session less than 48 hrs later.
- PRINCIPLE TO INFORM THE CONCERNED STATE
Lastly, to complement the obligation to communicate in a timely and transparent manner and extrapolating application of Human Rights Council Resolution 5/2, Article 13, which establishes the principle of ensuring that the concerned government authorities are the first recipients of communications concerning this State, Israel was never treated as such. It was only due to Israel's proactivity and insistence that it managed to find out critical information cone n g the Special Session. The Secretariat did not communicate diligently, out of its own initiative with the concerned State."