The International Criminal Court in The Hague has an important role in world affairs to fairly and independently guard against impunity for war crimes, genocide and other atrocities which “shock the conscience of humanity.” However, the ICC has recently diverted from this mission by opening an official probe against Israel for alleged war crimes committed during and since the 2014 rocket war with Hamas in Gaza, as well as Israel’s actions to build and maintain Jewish communities in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.
This was a highly politicised decision based on spurious claims which has resulted in an unlawful expansion of the Court’s jurisdiction. The probe was prompted by an overzealous Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, who harbours bias against the Jewish state as seen in her extensive private consultations with Palestinian Authority officials on this matter over recent years. The PA, in turn, is seeking to exploit the Court to deprive Israel of its right of self-defence, while also criminalising the legitimate rights of Jews to live in peace and security in their ancient homeland. Therefore, this probe against Israel must be opposed by all those concerned with fairness and justice in world affairs. Christians especially have an historic, moral duty to stand against such discriminatory actions against Israel.
The ICC is considered a ‘court of last resort’ which can only exercise jurisdiction over criminal cases expressly assigned to it by the Rome Statute, its signatory member states, or the United Nations Security Council. Thus, its current actions against Israel are improper and flawed for several reasons:
- Israel is not a signatory to the Rome Statute governing the ICC, has not consented to the Court’s jurisdiction in this matter, and has its own long-established and respected judicial system for investigating and trying such crimes.
- The Palestinians do not qualify as a sovereign state under the Rome Statute, and under the Oslo Accords they have no authority to assert or confer criminal jurisdiction over Israelis in the West Bank and Gaza.
- Therefore, the Court has no legal standing or authority to investigate and indict Israelis for war crimes in the ‘occupied territories’ – a view held by numerous Western democratic states and international legal scholars.
- The ICC’s Chief Prosecutor, Ms. Fatou Bensouda, has exhibited bias towards Israel through her extensive and secretive consultations with Palestinian Authority officials on this matter since 2015. This bias is further evidenced by her dating the period for the formal probe back to 13 June 2014 – the day after three Israeli teenage boys were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas – thus deliberately focusing on Israel’s response to a heinous crime and not the original crime itself committed by Palestinians.
- In the Oslo Accords signed with Israel, the Palestinians expressly agreed that they have no criminal jurisdiction over Israelis in the West Bank, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem, which also means they have no authority to delegate that criminal jurisdiction to another body. Thus, the ICC itself is flouting the Oslo agreements and undercutting this critical source of stability for the region.
- The ICC is sullying its impartiality and prestige while also weakening the prospects for peace in the region by unlawfully intervening in a bilateral political dispute on the side of the Palestinians, right when Israel has made historic advances in peace and normalisation with several Arab nations.
You can help reverse this illicit and unjust war crimes probe against Israel by signing our petition to the International Criminal Court.