By Courtney Trenwith
Lebanese-born, British lawyer Amal Alamuddin says she is “horrified” by the situation but denies she has accepted a role
British-Lebanese lawyer Amal Alamuddin has announced she
will not serve on a UN commission to investigate alleged human rights
violations and war crimes in the Gaza Strip, despite the UN Human Rights
Council declaring she would.
Alamuddin quickly released a statement through the
spokesman of her fiancé, Hollywood actor George Clooney, saying she had been
honoured to be offered one of the three roles on the commission but her current
workload would not allow her to be involved in the investigation.
“I am horrified by the situation in the occupied Gaza
Strip, particularly the civilian casualties that have been caused, and strongly
believe that there should be an independent investigation and accountability
for crimes that have been committed,” Alamuddin said.
“I was contacted by the UN about this for the first time
this morning. I am honoured to have received the offer, but given existing
commitments – including eight ongoing cases – unfortunately could not accept
this role. I wish my colleagues who will serve on the commission courage and
strength in their endeavours.”
The announcement had been made on Monday by Gabon
ambassador Baudelaire Ndong Ella, who is president of the 47-nation UN Human
Rights Council, according to the Associated Press.
The statement had said Alamuddin would serve alongside
Doudou Diene of Senegal, a lawyer who has filled UN posts on racism and human
rights in Ivory Coast, and Canada’s William Schabas, an international law
professor at Middlesex University in London.
The UN’s top human rights body has not yet clarified why
it was announced Alamuddin would serve on the commission without her
The Geneva-based advocacy group UN Watch questioned
whether the UN was “trying to inject some Hollywood publicity into the process”
by appointing Alamuddin, whose engagement to Clooney was announced in April.
Alamuddin is a London-based international law specialist
and former legal adviser to the prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon
and has represented WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Yulia Tymoshenko, a
former prime minister of Ukraine, and been an adviser to Kofi Annan.
The appointment of Schabas also has been controversial
because of prior statements critical of Israeli leaders.