The international Commission toenquire into Israeli violations of International Law was established during the summer of 1982 by concerned public figures and jurists in the Western world. Its terms of reference were to determine whether Israel had committed acts of aggression contrary to international lw; whether ithad used weapons, treated prisoners, or attacked civilian targets in violation of international law; whether it had carried out systematic bombardment and destruction of civilian areas; whether its treatment of local population and conduct in Lebanon were compatible with international lw; and to what extent Israeli authorities and forces were directly or indirectly involved in the massacre of Sabra and Shatila.
Five of the six members ofthe Commission were lawyers from the United States, Canada, France, South Africa and Ireland; the sixth was a university professor. The Chairman uas Sean MacBride, President of the International Peace Bureau, Geneva; the Vice-Chairman was Richard Falk, Professor ofInternational Lw at Princeton University; and the four other members were Kader Asmal, Senior Lecturer in Law and Dean of Arts at Trinity College, Dublin; Brian Bercusson, Lecturer in Law at the University of London; Geraud de la Pradelle, Professorf Law at the University of Paris, and Stefan Wild, Professorf Semitic Languages and Islamic Studies at the University of Bonn.
The 280-page report of the Commission was released early in i982. The excerpts reprinted below present the principles of international law regarding the conduct of war, and details of the operation of the Commission, as expressed by the "General Introduction" of the report; and the judgements of the Commission Israeli conduct falling under its terms of reference, draun from the Conclusion of the report.