India abstained for the first time from voting on a resolution on Palestine adopted at the UN rights body that calls for accountability by parties involved in last year’s conflict in Gaza.
The country was among the five nations that abstained in the United Nations vote on Friday that backed calls for accountability in last year’s conflict in Gaza, in which hundreds of Palestinian civilians and six Israeli civilians were killed.
Forty-one of the council’s 47 members voted in favour of the resolution. Five countries, including India, abstained while the US voted against the text, saying it was biased against Israel. Others who abstained were Ethiopia, Kenya, Macedonia and Paraguay.
India, however, said it remained comitted to the Palestinian cause. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, “There is no change in India’s long standing position on support to the Palestinian cause. The issue in this particular resolution was the reference to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
India is not a signatory to the Rome Statute establishing the ICC. In the past also, whenever a resolution had made a direct reference to the ICC, as had happened in the resolutions on Syria and North Korea, our general approach had been to abstain.”
The decision by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council has no binding effect, but adds to pressure for war crimes prosecutions before the International Criminal Court. Israel condemned the move, saying it was one-sided and ignored the fact that Israel is conducting its own probe into possible wrongdoing.