The UN has appointed South African judge and former war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone to lead a fact-finding mission to the Gaza Strip.
Mr Goldstone will investigate alleged violations of international law during the recent conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants.
Martin Uhomoibhi, president of the UN Human Rights Council, said the mission would be independent and impartial.
Israel calls the council biased and has previously refused to co-operate.
Mr Goldstone will lead a four-member team, which also includes experts from Pakistan, Britain, and Ireland, in investigating "all violations of international humanitarian law" before, during and after the Israeli campaign in Gaza that ended on 18 January.
"It's in the interest of the victims. It brings acknowledgment of what happened to them. It can assist the healing process," Mr Goldstone said.
"I would hope it's in the interests of all the political actors, too."