Palestine to take Israel to Int’l Criminal Court for War Crimes

RT | –

A Palestinian man stands at his makeshift shelter near the ruins of his house that witnesses said was destroyed by Israeli shelling during a 50-day war last summer, on a rainy day east of Gaza City February 19, 2015. (Reuters/Suhaib Salem)

Palestine’s first complaint against Israel’s alleged war crimes will be filed at the International Criminal Court in April, according to a senior Palestinian official. The issue will reportedly be related to the 2014 war in Gaza.

“One of the first important steps will be filing a complaint against Israel at the ICC on April 1 over the [2014] Gaza war and settlement activity,” Mohammed Shtayyeh, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) told AP on Monday.

The Palestinians will be able to take legal action at the court based in The Hague, Netherlands, after the nation moved to join the international authority formally in January. According to the court’s procedures, “the statute will enter into force for the State of Palestine on April 1.”

Israel’s foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon expressed his country’s refusal to react to the declaration, describing it as “speculative and hypothetical,” as quoted by AP. The Israeli administration has for decades consistently opposed Palestine’s legal power to sue Israel for war crimes.

After Palestine’s move to join the ICC was confirmed by the UN in January, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country “will not let Israel Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers and officers be dragged” to The Hague. Following the announcement in January, Israel froze the transfer of half a billion shekels ($125 million) in tax revenue to the Palestinian Authority.

The ICC, with jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, announced a preliminary examination into Israel’s 2014 actions in Gaza. Around 2,200 Palestinians were killed in that conflict, with over 60 percent of the victims being civilians. Israel’s losses included 66 soldiers and 6 civilians, according to an investigation, carried out by AP earlier this month.

After Palestine officially joins the Court in April, it also plans to sue Israel over its policy of settlement building on land occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War. Under international law, all Israeli construction on land seized during the war is considered illegal.

Via RT

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Related video added by Juan Cole:

Euronews from last month: “ICC opens inquiry into Israeli-Palestinian conflict”

6 Responses

  1. Israel has tried via its court system to hold the P.L.O liable for monetary damages for bombings and there are cases going on in New York to hold the P.L.O legal responsible for terror activity as well as the Arab Bank liable for doing business with Hamas as a customer.

    The ICC action against Israel will be as about as groundbreaking as the Nuremberg trials were in Germany to hold a Western power responsible for the war crimes and crimes against humanity of its political or military leaders.

    The Israeli government is currently consulting with international law experts on ways to fight the jurisdiction of the ICC. In the past Israel has been successful in avoiding the reach of such nations as Belgium in asserting “universal jurisdiction” over putative war crimes occurring in the Middle East.

    • There is simply no way for Israel to “fight the jurisdiction of the ICC”.

      That possibility ended the moment that the ICC recognized that the state of Palestine has standing before the court.

      This is very simple:
      Israel’s leadership is committing a war crime defined in Article 8(2)b(viii) of the Rome Statute, and that ongoing war crime is being carried out on territory that lies OUTSIDE the state of Israel.

      On territory belonging to another state – Palestine – which has sovereignty over this territory (curtsey of it being a state) but can not exercise “authority” over that territory (curtsey of it being under an Israeli belligerent occupation).

      QED: The Chief Prosecutor of the ICC not only has jurisdiction over this war crime but is also the *only* legal officer capable of bringing the war criminals to trial.

      There is pretty much no excuse that Israel can come up with that could possibly convince the Chief Prosecutor that the ICC should not to proceed with that trial.

      The war crime is undeniable.
      The gravity of that war crime is unquestionable.
      The guilty party is unmistakable.
      The jurisdiction of the court is unchallengeable.

      There is simply no LEGAL avenue available to him to prevent that case from getting to the court, and once it gets to court then Netanyahu is toast.

      Politically, maybe, he can prevent this getting to court. But he doesn’t need “int’l law experts” for that – he needs politicians in his pocket.

      And, sure, he can simply have Abbas shot, but no “int’l law experts” are going to pull that trigger. He needs the IDF to do that.

      But the LAW is so heavily against him that no “int’l law expert” – no matter how talented – is going to be able to help him out.

  2. Consequences for actions rarely are imposed on the wealthy. I suspect the same holds true for wealthy nations.

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