This time, the International Criminal Court is paying attention | International Criminal Court


It feels like déjàvu.

Israel launched forced expulsions, attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque and persecution of Palestinians. Hamas fired rockets at Israel. Israel bombed densely populated areas of Gaza, claiming that Hamas used civilians as “human shields.” The Palestinians said they had nowhere to hide from airstrikes. The Israeli army bombed the densely populated towers into rubble. The mother mourned the lost child.

The cruel violence is outrageous. The latest round of this serious asymmetric conflict has claimed the lives of at least 254 Palestinians (including 66 children) and 12 Israelis (including two children). Senior UN officials once again declared that if Israel’s bombing of Gaza is disproportionate, it will constitute a war crime.

This situation appears in the “endless loop”, and it seems that there is no escape. However, this time is different. This time, the International Criminal Court (ICC) is watching.

The International Criminal Court is currently conducting an on-site investigation of the situation in Palestine. Although some people insist that the International Criminal Court cannot investigate Palestine because it is not a country, this is not the common view of the Court or the majority of its members. When judges of the International Criminal Court gave the green light to a formal investigation into the atrocities committed by Palestine earlier this year, it did not help.

It is unclear which behaviors or actors the ICC may target. But all signs indicate that Hamas leaders and Israeli government officials are under scrutiny. Hamas has been charged with war crimes, including deliberately firing rockets into civilian areas in Israel. The Israeli government has been charged with war crimes for its repeated and disproportionate bombing of Gaza and the establishment and expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Israel rejected any investigation by the International Criminal Court, claiming that the court was an institution established in 2002 to investigate and prosecute mass atrocities. It was illegal and encouraged “terrorist groups.” The administrations of Israel and US President Donald Trump loudly supported and coordinated an anti-ICC misinformation campaign and even endorsed sanctions on senior ICC staff. Right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even insisted that the courts are investigating Palestinian war crimes on behalf of “pure anti-Semitism” and called on right-wing governments-including those that openly hold anti-Semitism stances- Criticize. Court.

Although some experts believe that the International Criminal Court is more likely to begin investigating the allegations against Hamas, this kind of hysterical criticism is emerging because Israel is happy to cooperate with such investigations and provide investigators with access Opportunities in the occupied Palestinian territories. However, the Israeli government has made it clear that it will not cooperate with the International Criminal Court in its own crime investigations, and Israeli courts will not prosecute accused Israeli war criminals.

In the eyes of many, the Israeli government’s fierce anti-ICC rhetoric makes the state appear to be more responsible for the atrocities being investigated by the court. Natanyahu also told Israeli soldiers not to “fear” “investigate, investigate, [and] War crimes inspection.” During the military conflict, Netanyahu effectively told the soldiers that the Geneva Convention was not a concern for them.

Israel and Hamas remain unyielding. As the recent violence has shown, no one is interested in mitigating their actions just because the International Criminal Court is watching. This is not surprising. A series of United Nations reports, the Independent Investigation and Investigation Commission claimed that Hamas had committed war crimes and Israel-war crimes and crimes against humanity, and recommended that the International Criminal Court conduct investigations. Israel fired everyone, and state officials viciously attacked their authors.

Therefore, some people may conclude that ICC is now an irrelevant participant. Far away.

As the world witnessed obvious war crimes circulating on social media, Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, stated that she was examining the continued violence “very seriously”, adding that “[w]e is monitoring closely, and I reminded us that we have begun investigations, and the development of these incidents may also be of concern to us. “

Bensouda will be replaced by British barrister Karim Khan on the ICC this summer. This week’s atrocities will make him practically unable to proceed with the ICC investigation. After so ruthlessly disregarding international humanitarian law, the agency’s reluctance to take any action is really embarrassing.

Similarly, the expulsion of the civilians of Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem and the massive Israeli bombing of Hamas rockets resulting in the bombing of civilian houses and infrastructure will only make more people believe that the courts must intervene and hold them accountable. The perpetrator bears responsibility.

This situation will encourage more people to consume and convince themselves that respected human rights institutions like B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch are correct because they find that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians constitutes persecution and apartheid. Current events have made the controversy over the term apartheid trivial, and the term apartheid applies to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Mainstream journalists and politicians even use this term to describe the plight of Palestine.

Therefore, people will be more convinced that the International Criminal Court should intervene. It is becoming increasingly clear that the status quo of the Palestinians and Israelis is caused by impunity for atrocities, persecution, and the oppressive conditions of the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, Gaza, and Israel.

The International Criminal Court cannot bring peace to Israel and Palestine. It cannot end apartheid. This is not the solution. But this should be part of it. Every hour, it can only provide more evidence that the International Criminal Court should continue its investigation and finally issue arrest warrants to those who committed international crimes in Palestine.

The court is watching. The perpetrator ignores this fact and bears the consequences.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.


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