Addressing a special session of the UN Human Rights Council on the violence which has claimed more than 100 lives in Gaza over six weeks, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein warned that "killing resulting from the unlawful use of force by an occupying power may also constitute wilful killings, a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention".
Violations of the Geneva Conventions adopted in 1949 following World War II are commonly called "war crimes", although he did not explicitly use that word.
He pointed out though that while 60 Palestinians were killed and thousands injured in a single day of protests on Monday, "on the Israeli side, one soldier was reportedly wounded, slightly, by a stone."
"The stark contrast in casualties on both sides is ... suggestive of a wholly disproportionate response," he told the council.
Many of the Palestinians injured and killed "were completely unarmed, were shot in the back, in the chest, in the head and limbs with live ammunition," he said.
He added there was "little evidence of any (Israeli) attempt to minimise casualties."--RTE