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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘International Criminal Court’

Palestinian Authority Granted Observer Status at Int’l Court

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

The Palestinian Authority won a major victory Monday when it was granted official observer status by the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

The long-sought status upgrade was announced at a session of the 122-member tribunal at the United Nations in New York City.

Although symbolic, the move is seen as “another victory for the Palestinians internationally,” said PLO representative to the UN, Riyad Mansour, and a step taking the PA closer to “Palestinian membership in the ICC.”

The Court has been unable to investigate war crimes committed by or within the Palestinian Authority or Gaza inasmuch as neither is a member of the Court, as required by the Rome Statute, which grants jurisdiction on behalf of, and over members of the ICC.

For the same reason, the ICC has not been able to investigate any allegations of crimes supposedly committed by the IDF during any of its counter terror operations in Gaza, since Israel also has no membership in the ICC.

PA and PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, known to his Arab constituents by his terrorist name of “Abu Mazen,” has repeatedly threatened to join the ICC in the event the UN Security Council does not comply with his demand to set a firm timetable for Israel to disengage from Judea, Samaria and all parts of Jerusalem restored to its capital in the 1967 Six Day War, and withdraw to the 1949 Armistice Lines.

Israeli Lawyers File War Crime Suit against Abbas for Rocket Fire

Monday, November 10th, 2014

An Israeli civil rights group has filed a complaint in the International Criminal Court against Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas for war crimes in the Gaza war against Israel.

The Shurat HaDin (Israel Law Center) group said that Abbas can be tried in the court in Hague because he has Jordanian citizenship.

The Palestinian Authority is not as member of the ICC, but Abbas has threatened he will apply for membership. If the PA is accepted, he could file war crime suits against Israel.

“Shurat HaDin will not allow Fatah to carry out rocket attacks on Israeli population centers, while hypocritically advocating Palestinian membership in the ICC, said Shurat HaDin director Nitsana Darshan Leitner. “Abbas falsely believes that alleged crimes against Arabs are the only ones that should be prosecuted,” she added.

Darshan-Leitner argued that Abbas, as head of the Fatah movement, “is liable for Fatah’s rocket attacks on Israeli cities during this past summer’s Gaza war.”

Fatah boasted that it launched missiles towards numerous Israeli communities, including Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot and kibbutzim in the Gaza Belt area.

Darshan-Leitner explained that Abbas’ Jordanian citizenship circumvents the previous obstacle to the ICC chief prosecutor’s argument that the court did not open an investigation into war cries in the war because neither Israel or the Palestinian Authority is a member of the ICC.

“Abbas is a Jordanian citizen and Jordan is a current member of the ICC,” she said, “The ICC is empowered to exercise its jurisdiction over all acts committed by the citizen of a member, wherever those acts are committed.”

The complaint notes Jordan has never prosecuted any Palestinian citizen for terrorism and it “has no means of obtaining custody of Mahmoud Abbas,” who lives in Ramallah under PA protection.

In September, Shurat HaDin filed an ICC complaint against Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who also possesses Jordanian citizenship, for Hamas’s extra-judicial execution of 39 Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

 

ICC Nixes Probe of 2010 Clash on Gaza Flotilla Vessel

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

The International Criminal Court at The Hague has decided not to investigate the 2010 incident involving clashes between Israeli commandos and IHH terror activists aboard a “humanitarian” flotilla headed for Gaza.

The clashes took place aboard one of six vessels in the flotilla, the Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara ship, which was found when searched to be carrying no aid supplies whatsoever.

It did, however, carry armed activists who were itching for a fight and more than prepared to start one. As soon as the Israeli soldiers began to board their vessel to take control and bring the ship to Ashdod port – since the flotilla had ignored Israeli orders to change course and avoid Gaza on its own – the activists attacked the commandos with crowbars, knives, chains and other weapons. Some soldiers were hurled overboard into the sea. Several were tied up.

But the soldiers who were behind and following saw the attack and realized what was happening, and they launched a counter attack. Ultimately, nine of the terror activists died in the clashes, including eight Turkish nationals and one American.

Prosecutors at the ICC found that although there was a “reasonable basis” to believe the Israeli commandos may have committed war crimes during the incident, they did not fall under the jurisdiction of the court.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who at the time was the country’s prime minister, has milked the incident to distance his government — and his country — from  its regional ally, Israel.

Until the 2006 Second Lebanon War, the two nations were close allies, but Erdogan flew into a rage when Israel launched a counter terror operation in summer 2006 against the Hamas terrorist organization, created by the radical Islamist Muslim Brotherhood group which Erdogan strongly favors.

Since that time, Erdogan has constantly sought excuses to slap at Israel and to dissolve the close economic, military and strategic relations that have been developed between the two countries over the years.

International Criminal Court at The Hague Has No Jurisdiction in Gaza

Monday, September 1st, 2014

Palestinian Authority and PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has been threatening for weeks to charge Israel with war crimes at the International Criminal Court at the The Hague.

But this week, suddenly, PA delegates are saying they “might” be willing to “delay” the PA’s application to international agencies – including the ICC – if they are able to close a deal with Israel within the next four months.

Why?

It turns out the answer is to be found in a clear, elegant and blunt article published in the UK-based newspaper ‘The Guardian,’ penned by Fatou Bensouda, prosecutor of the ICC.

Bensouda explains that the ICC’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute, mandates that the prosecutor investigate and prosecute crimes “committed on the territory or by the nationals of states that have joined the ICC statute or which have otherwise accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC through an ad hoc declaration to that effect pursuant to article 12-3 of the statute.”

In plain language, the ICC has no jurisdiction over ‘Palestine,’ over the Palestinian Authority, over PA-controlled territory in Judea, Samaria or Gaza. Nor does Israel consider itself under the jurisdiction of the Court for various legal reasons.

“In November 2012, Palestine’s status was upgraded by the UN General Assembly to “non-member observer state” through the adoption of resolution 67/19. My office examined the legal implications of this development and concluded that while this change did not retroactively validate the previously invalid 2009 declaration, Palestine could now join the Rome Statute,” Bensouda wrote.

However, the PA has not yet done so, probably in part because if it does, the PA leadership will be just as liable to prosecution as will anyone else.

That’s pretty scary.

“In both practice and words, I have made it clear in no uncertain terms that the office of the prosecutor will execute its mandate, without fear or favour, where jurisdiction is established and will vigorously pursue those – irrespective of status or affiliation – who commit mass crimes that shock the conscience of humanity,” Bensouda wrote. “My office’s approach to Palestine will be no different if the court’s jurisdiction is ever triggered over the situation.

“It is my firm belief that recourse to justice should never be compromised by political expediency. The failure to uphold this sacrosanct requirement will not only pervert the cause of justice and weaken public confidence in it, but also exacerbate the immense suffering of the victims of mass atrocities. This, we will never allow.”

The question of course is how the International Criminal Court at The Hague would view the unbelievable number of incidents of use of human shields in Gaza documented by the IDF. Not to mention the exploitation of the “neutral” United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) by Hamas and allied terrorists in Gaza during wartime. That is use of human shields also – several of those facilities were filled with civilians displaced due to combat – not to mention use of UN cover.

Add to that the mass executions of local civilians Hamas suspected of collaboration with Israel – and for that matter, the executions they continue to carry out in service of that fear. Hamas, after all, is a member of the PA unity government now; what Hamas does, everyone is liable for.

All of which the PA would be inviting the ICC to fully investigate. And which Israel has substantiated with documented evidence in objective detail. Not eyewitnesses, who can be manipulated, intimidated and forced into distorted testimony, but satellite imagery, photograph stills and video footage.

Does Abbas want to risk that? Is the United States recommending he risk that? For that matter, the European Union and US might even have a part to play as well; both fund the Palestinian Authority quite liberally, and the PA government in Ramallah continues to pay the monthly salaries of terrorists imprisoned in Israel. More than a few were released due to diplomatic pressure from the US, and have since returned to their old ways. What part did they play in the war in Gaza? Probably the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) knows.

Abbas to Ask UN to Set Date for Israel Withdrawal to 1949 Armistice Line

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

PLO chairman, Fatah leader and Palestinian Authority unity government head, Mahmoud Abbas is hoping to persuade the United Nations Security Council to ‘forget’ the internationally-recognized Oslo Accords and simply force Israel back to the 1949 Armistice Line.

Abbas reportedly is set to ask the Council to set a date by which Israel will be required to withdraw from Judea, Samaria and nearly half of its capital city, Jerusalem, all of which Israel captured from Jordanian control.

This would include withdrawal from the Old City, handing over the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, all of Judaism’s holiest sites and in short, the territory where a total of more than half a million Jews now reside, and is the cradle of Jewish civilization.

According to Fatah officials who spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday night, Abbas plans to ask the United Nations Security Council to set a deadline for Israel to withdraw from all of the territory it acquired during the 1967 Six Day War from Jordan. It’s not clear whether he also intends to include the Golan Heights in his request, since that is not directly relevant to the PA.
Jordan has since relinquished any claims it had on the territories.

If the UN Security Council does not agree to do as Abbas demands, the PA unity government head will ‘take his business elsewhere’ and turn to the International Criminal Court at The Hague,” the source said.

Abbas will attempt to charge Israel with war crimes in the international court — but it’s unlikely that he will succeed. Perhaps the primary reason is the fact that Israel is not a member of the ICC; therefore the court has no jurisdiction over the Jewish State, aside from the fact that Israel is simply not guilty, and has made very sure to document every move it makes in order to defend itself in any court of law.

Moreover, there is ample photographic evidence proving the countless violations of international humanitarian law committed by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and yes, by Fatah-linked terrorists as well — all of whom are members of Abu Mazen’s Palestinian Authority and under his government.

It’s the last act of a desperate man, one who has tried everything else and knows there is nothing left to do. No matter which way he turns, he’s a dead man in Ramallah, and he does not want to live in Israel. A man in this position has nothing left to lose.

The Doctrine of Proportionality

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

This article was first published by the Gatestone Institute.

Proportionality in international law is not about equality of death or civilian suffering, or even about [equality of] firepower. Proportionality weighs the necessity of a military action against suffering that the action might cause to enemy civilians in the vicinity.

“Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute, the death of civilians during an armed conflict, no matter how grave and regrettable does not constitute a war crime…. even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur. A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians (principle of distinction) or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality).” — Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court.

“The greater the military advantage anticipated, the larger the amount of collateral damage — often civilian casualties — which will be “justified” and “necessary.” — Dr. Françoise Hampton, University of Essex, UK.

As the Israeli ground incursion into Gaza continues, increased attention will be focused on the notion of “proportionality” in both the number of casualties on both sides and the sophistication of the weapons each side brings to bear. Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg characterized Israel’s operations against Hamas in language that came close to an accusation of war crimes. “I really do think now the Israeli response appears to be deliberately disproportionate. It is amounting now to a disproportionate form of collective punishment.” Even President Obama, who has been a firm advocate of Israel’s self-defense in this instance, told reporters that he “encouraged” Prime Minister Netanyahu to “minimize civilian deaths.”

An Israeli journalist called Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system “unsportsmanlike.” He wondered what FIFA would say “if Germany, with its superior economy and industry, were to replace Manuel Neuer with a bionic goalkeeper… capable of calculating where each Argentine ball will come from, the exact position to stand in and amount of force needed to block it… On the modern battlefield (Israel) is a bionic Germany.”

How unsportsmanlike!

Even among Israel’s friends – and some Israelis – a “yes, but…” response is common. “Yes” Hamas started it; “Yes” Hamas puts military infrastructure in civilian neighborhoods; “Yes” Israel is entitled to self-defense, “Yes” the Israelis warn Palestinians. “But” more than 240 Palestinians have been killed to date and only one Israeli has died directly from rocket fire.

Isn’t that the definition of “disproportionate?” No. It isn’t.

Proportionality in international law is not about equality of death or civilian suffering, or even about firepower returned being equal in sophistication or lethality to firepower received. Proportionality weighs the military necessity of an action against the suffering that the action might cause to enemy civilians in the vicinity. A review of expert opinion – none of which was written in relation to Israel – helps to clarify. [All emphases below added.]

Prof. Horst Fischer, Academic Director of the Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany, and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, wrote in The Crimes of War Project:

The principle of proportionality is embedded in almost every national legal system and underlies the international legal order. Its function in domestic law is to relate means to ends… In the conduct of war, when a party commits a lawful attack against a military objective, the principle of proportionality also comes into play whenever there is collateral damage, that is, civilian casualties or damage to a non-military objective… attacks are prohibited if they cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, or damage to civilian objects that is excessive in relation to the anticipated concrete and direct military advantage of the attack. This creates a permanent obligation for military commanders to consider the results of the attack compared to the advantage anticipated.

Exactly as Israel does when it aborts missions after finding civilians used as human shields on rooftops.

One More Try for Peace as Envoy Martin Indyk Arrives in Israel

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

U.S. Special Envoy Martin Indyk raced to Jerusalem Wednesday for emergency meetings with Israeli and Palestinian Authority negotiators over the crashing final status talks.

In Algeria for strategic security talks, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also urged Israeli and PA leaders to make one more effort to reach an agreement, warning that the Obama administration could not force peace if partners were unwilling.

“You can facilitate, you can push, you can nudge, but the parties themselves have to make fundamental decisions and compromises,” he said. “The leaders have to lead and they have to be able to see a moment when it’s there.” Kerry quoted the old adage of being able to ‘lead a horse to water but not being able to make it drink’ — an analogy that every American child is raised with.

“Now is the time to drink,” Kerry said. “The leaders need to know that.”

Last week Israel balked over the release of a final group of 30 PA terrorist incarcerated in Israeli prisons. The group included 20 Israeli Arab citizens – a controversial issue that had split the coalition government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from the start of the talks in July 2013.

The Israeli Arab prisoners acted in their terrorism under the auspices of Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Both are led by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, so it is impossible for him to close his eyes to their incarceration. More so, it is impossible for Israeli government ministers to ignore the fact that Abbas, whose nom de guerre is Abu Mazen, is in some ways as much a terrorist as those who are imprisoned. Abbas has claimed “only a few hundred thousand” Jews were killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust. During the years of the Bush Administration he refused to dismantle terrorist organizations as required by the Roadmap peace plan – which collapsed — and refuses to stop media incitement in the PA against Israel as well.

The prisoners were to be freed in stages linked to progress in the talks and the participation of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas – who has not been active at the negotiating table since November 2013. Further exacerbating the problem is the fact that no visible progress appears to have been made on the core issues since that time, with Israel making all the security concessions and endangering its own population.

Last Friday, instead of freeing the terrorists, Israel proposed to extend the talks and offered to free another 400 prisoners, again in stages linked as before to progress in the negotiations.

The talks are not scheduled to end until April 29.

Instead, on Monday infuriated PA leaders signed applications for membership in 15 United Nations agencies and organizations. The move is an outrageous violation of its commitment to both Israel and the United States at the outset of the talks.

Last night (Wednesday), Fatah faction leader Mohamed Shtayyeh also threatened in a statement in Arabic to Sky News to submit an application to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague – a second violation.

The PA committed at the start of negotiations with Israel in July 2013 not to seek membership in international organizations – including the International Criminal Court at The Hague – until the conclusion of talks on April 29.

But Shtayyeh announced that the PA is also no longer willing to “negotiate” on any issue other than borders and demanded Israel present a map of new borders based on the 1949 Armistice lines, also known as the “1967 lines.” This is a third violation.

The “1967 lines” term is used with bitterness by Arabs and many in the international community to refer to the areas occupied by Jordan from 1948 to 1967, whose borders were dissolved after Israel won the 1967 Six Day War.

If Israel is unable to reach agreement with the PA on borders, the PA threatened to submit applications for membership in 63 international organizations. The strategy is being used as a means of gaining de facto legitimacy as a as an independent sovereign nation.

Moreover, Shtayyeh blamed Israel for the action, saying it came in response to the government decision not to release the final group of terrorist prisoners last week.

PA envoy to the United Nations Riyad Mansour added in a statement to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency – a PA mouthpiece — that the entity is “eligible for membership in up to 550 international organizations.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/one-more-try-for-peace-as-envoy-martin-indyk-arrives-in-israel/2014/04/03/

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