Réseau Syndical International de Solidarité et de Luttes


mardi, 7 juillet 2020

 
 

 

Israel before the International Criminal Court : It’s high time

Accueil > International (Engl) > Africa > Israel before the International Criminal (...)

On December 20, 2019, Fatou Bensouda, prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, expressed her willingness to open an investigation into war crimes committed in Israel-Palestine under the Rome Statute, stating that the the investigation would focus on the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.

Following the debate she opened with international legal experts on the territorial jurisdiction of the ICC, she believes today, in a 60-page document published on April 30, 2020, that such an investigation can be opened.

Among the obstacles is whether the State of Palestine, although neither sovereign nor independent, has the power to seize the ICC and prosecute Israel for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Paradox of the Israeli maneuvers, Palestine was denied its right to be a State under the Oslo Accords, even though these agreements provide for this State, but that Israel has prevented its creation for nearly 30 years.

The traditionally allied chancelleries of Israel have mobilized : the United States, Brazil, Hungary, Germany, Austria, but also an international team of jurists led by Robert Badinter whom we have known more concerned with human life. Added to this are the eternal accusations of anti-Semitism which are increasingly out of place. Unprecedented procedural mobilization, and for what ? To prevent crimes from being tried ? To protect criminals ? To protect an occupying military power ?

The obstacle was lifted and the prosecutor confirmed the position of Palestine, after a question that had been asked for more than five years. Five years during which Israel bombed Gaza, causing thousands of preventable deaths. If Palestinian victims of war crimes due to Israeli colonization have accumulated for decades, an intervention by the ICC could have saved the lives of civilians who have been demonstrating weekly for two years to defend their rights, and murdered at point blank by the Israeli army.

Now is high time to bring Israeli war criminals to court, some of whom like Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz are still running the country ! Just as it will be time later to try these and other leaders for the crime of apartheid.

An Israeli minister said he saw in Fatou Bensouda’s behavior the influence of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Paradoxically, this is an opportunity for the Palestinian solidarity movement, to which our network belongs, to discover that the legal strategy is a complementary path to that of the boycott, and that the two must be pursued simultaneously. In addition to doing justice, the possibility for Palestine to lodge a complaint with the ICC is a recognition and a pride whose symbolic significance is important.

A pre-trial chamber of the ICC, made up of three judges, must now ratify the prosecutor’s decision. It is generally a formality, if the judges do not yield to pressure or to attempts at manipulation. Other obstacles may arise, for example the Security Council can delay the investigation launched by the prosecutor by a year.

We therefore remain attentive, because Palestine unfortunately is used to those kinds of reversals. Palestine has been waiting for the wind to turn for more than 70 years. It is high time.