Hague Redemption 132


I am delighted that Palestine has finally applied to join the International Criminal Court. It is over three years since I blogged in recommendation that Palestine do this, and I have been somewhat baffled as to why it has taken so long to take a step which much of the international legal and human rights community has been so long urging. My own contacts into PLO circles (which do not rise above middling level) indicated simply that the leadership view was that “the time was not yet right”.

This delay was but one indicator of the powerlessness of the Abbas position, obliged to pay lip service to a US-led “peace process” which he knows to be an utter sham, and bullied by Blair and Obama into comparative quiescence by the threat of cutting off international lifelines to the beleaguered Palestinian people. But there should never have been any doubt that quiescence would result in continuing but deadly sure, slow strangulation. Intelligent pro-activity, such as joining the ICC, is a far better option.

For Obama to describe Palestinian accession to the International Criminal Court as “provocative” is ludicrous. How can it be provocative to seek to come under the jurisdiction of international law? It is US and Israeli exceptionalism that is a standing provocation to the international community.

We will now see what the ICC actually is. As a strong supporter of the rule of international law, I was reluctant to join the criticism of the ICC which notes it is active only against those condemned by the West. But the ICC’s inaction over the illegal invasion of Iraq remains inexcusable. It’s African trials conveniently ignore the colonial context. For example, the root cause of the ethnic violence in Kenya was white appropriation of the best farming land which evicted indigenous tribes into the territory of other tribes, causing resource conflict which still echoes. The ICC’s interest in Africa also carefully avoids the West’s preferred dictators and mineral grabs.

The ICC has already failed a key test where it declined to take action over the murderous Israeli assault on the Mavi Mamara on the grounds that the scale of the war crime was insufficient to reach the bar of the Court’s attention. That was not an incorrect legal argument, but an activist court could have gone either way.

The illegal Israeli settlements and murderous invasions of Gaza cannot be ruled inconsequent. Now the ICC has a chance to show whether it really is interested in the rule of international law, or whether it is simply a tool of neo-conservative hegemony.

The World is watching. Can The Hague redeem itself?


132 thoughts on “Hague Redemption

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  • nevermind

    I question their judgement in this case and the fact that all three of the factions involved in this international case of piracy, remember the ship was in international waters, still, were not members of the ICC.

    I question that there was a pre-planned course of action on behalf of the peaceful protesters, indeed it was they who were attacked with overwhelming force and lethal weapons.
    Who gave Israel the right to come with a military force, why could they not sent a pilots vessel? what of Israel and its pre planned actions, so obviously not with peaceful aims in mind?

    maybe the next convoy needs to consider its own safety and come with military protection, ideally international. Gaza needs to develop a port, ideally somewhere suitable as to assist and to develop its offshore gas field. That alone should be decided by the courts, the abstraction and stealing of another countries/people’s resource which it itself desperately needs.

    “But Bensouda said that any cases relating to the storming “would not be of sufficient gravity to justify further action by the ICC.”

    Although the international court ultimately dismissed the complaint, the Foreign Ministry criticized “imprudent statements” that appeared in its conclusive report, namely what it said was the omission of the “lethal, pre-planned and organized violence” perpetrated by activists on board the flotilla, such that the IDF soldiers were forced to defend themselves.

    “It should be noted that any initial statement by the prosecutor regarding the conduct of the IDF soldiers, without addressing the main issue of self-defense that justifies the use of force and without having conducted a thorough investigation of the incident itself, necessarily leads to erroneous and misleading statements,” the ministry said.

    Jerusalem also cried foul over the fact that the probe was initiated despite the fact that the matter was previously investigated both by an internal committee headed by former Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel, and a UN-ordered panel, led by ex-prime minister of New Zealand Geoffrey Palmer.

    Bensouda said she had to abide by the Rome Statute, which prioritizes larger war crimes before smaller ones.
    Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons ASA 3.0/Fatou Bensouda)

    Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons ASA 3.0/Fatou Bensouda)

    A Turkish lawyer representing Comoros vowed not to give up the case.

    “This is a moral struggle that we’re pursuing by ourselves. It’s a legal struggle, a struggle in the name of humanity. This struggle isn’t over,” attorney Ramazan Ariturk told reporters in Istanbul. “We will object to a higher court at the International Criminal Court and we believe without a doubt that we will prevail.”

    In a 61-page report, prosecutors concluded that “there is a reasonable basis to believe” that Israeli forces may have committed the crimes of willful killing, willfully causing serious injury and committing outrages upon personal dignity.

    The report said that the findings were based on “information available at this stage” and that ICC prosecutors didn’t collect the evidence.

    The UN report in July 2011 found that the raid was justified, but that Israel used “unacceptable” excessive force.

    Israel and Turkey are not members of the court, which only has jurisdiction over its members, over cases that are referred to it by the UN Security Council, and over events that take place on the territory of member states.”

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/as-marmara-case-closed-israel-calls-international-probe-pointless/

  • shibboleth

    “Can The Hague redeem itself?”

    I fear yet another disappointment. The circumvention of international law by the USA and Israel amidst their refusal to recognise the ICC merely compounds the problem of jurisdiction along with the others you illustrate in the article. Regrettably, it’s powers are effectively neutered, much in the same way as the UN has been over the years. These institutions should be a beacon for justice and fairness but instead they have become mere sentinels for a global elite intent on the status quo.

    The first act of any new UK government should be to send the entire cohort of repugnant reptiles that supported the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over to the Hague – and ask the court to frame their own terms of reference for any crimes whilst furnishing it will every piece of evidence that it holds. What kind of ideology do we profess when our ethical horizon is scattered with torture, rendition, corruption, murder and lies? Have we learned nothing from history?

  • UU

    The most cogent counterargument was Francis Boyle’s: that ICJ is a better venue. The ICC is too weak and would end up decapitating the Palestinian state. Palestinian genocide is the most politicized case out there and ICC has not acquitted itself well, even with African pariah states.

  • craig Post author

    UU

    Top of the head, but I think I am right in saying that if an Israeli commits a crime on Palestinian soil, and Palestine is a member of the ICC, that Israeli is subject to the jurisdiction of the court irrespective of whether Israel has signed up. Whereas the ICJ can only adjudicate between two states both members.

  • Herbie

    Netanyahu: Israel expects ICC to reject Palestinian request out of hand because it is not a state.

    The irony.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.634983

    But anyway, what’s the technical on that?

    “31/12/2014

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today commented as follows on the decision of the Palestinian Authority to accede to various international treaties:

    “It is the Palestinian Authority – which is in a unity government with Hamas, an avowed terrorist organization that, like ISIS, perpetrates war crimes – that needs to be concerned about the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

    We will take steps in response and we will defend the soldiers of the IDF, the most moral army in the world.

    We will rebuff this additional attempt to force diktat on us just like we rebuffed the Palestinian appeal to the UN Security Council.” ”

    http://www.pmo.gov.il/English/MediaCenter/Spokesman/Pages/spokerashap311214.aspx

  • Herbie

    “Joining the court is a step toward allowing the investigation of alleged Israeli war crimes.”

    Some bizarre responses to the Palestinian move to join ICC.

    You’d think everyone would be happy that the Palestinians subject themselves to international law.

    “”It should come as no surprise that there will be implications for this step, but we continue to review,” a US official told Reuters.”

    “Earlier on Friday, Republican and Democratic lawmakers said there would be repercussions for the Palestinian Authority in the wake of its joining the International Criminal Court.”

    “Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said the move “deeply frustrated” her.

    “This move only sets back the peace process even further,” Gillibrand said in a Dec. 31 statement. “I will work with my colleagues in Congress to make it clear to the Palestinian Authority that they will be held accountable for these kinds of actions.””

    “The Obama administration has said it was “deeply troubled” by Abbas’ action, calling it counterproductive.

    “On Jan. 1, Canada called Abbas’ move “dangerous.””

    ““Such a provocative decision only furthers the divide between Palestinians and Israelis, and will carry unfortunate consequences,” John Baird, the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, said in a statement.”

    Why are they so afraid.

    What’s their rationale.

  • Mary

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/british-activists-launch-lawsuit-over-deadly-raid-on-gaza-peace-flotilla-9955992.html#

    Israeli commandos who boarded the ‘Mavi Marmara’ could face prosecution if they visit the UK
    Paul Gallagher
    Sunday 04 January 2015

    Scotland Yard has been asked to investigate whether Israeli special forces who attacked a “peace flotilla” of ships in international waters killing 10 people committed war crimes. Lawyers acting for British activists have launched legal proceedings in the hope of prosecuting the Israeli soldiers in the UK.

    Evidence passed to the Metropolitan Police names five Israeli military commanders alleged to have committed war crimes when the troops they commanded stormed the flotilla which was attempting to breach Israel’s blockade of Gaza in May 2010.

    Lawyers representing 13 of the 34 Britons on the Turkish-registered MV Mavi Marmara, the main civilian vessel in the fleet of six ships carrying humanitarian aid and construction materials, say some of the commanders had visited Britain since the incident and said the police now had evidence which should result in their arrest if they return. Identical legislation was used to arrest the Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet in the UK in 1998.

    /..

    http://tgchambers.com/barristers/rodney-dixon-qc.aspx

  • Mary

    Bibi had better stop calling the kettle black. Israel is not a state. It has no borders and knows no law(s).

  • Republicofscotland

    “the root cause of the ethnic violence in Kenya was white appropriation of the best farming land which evicted indigenous tribes into the territory of other tribes, causing resource conflict which still echoes.”
    ……………………….

    Oh How history repeats itself over and over, swap out the words Kenya and Africa, and you could’ve been describing Northern Ireland, under the rule of James VI/I

    The planned process of colonisation, known as the Ulster Plantation, displaced many native folk.

  • Mary

    Dear friends,

    Over the last few months, friends and supporters of the Choir of London have together raised enough funds to offer a unique and life-changing visit to London to two young Palestinian musicians in 2015. As the campaign enters its final week will you, too, help us to offer this incredible opportunity to more amazing young musicians?

    Please read testimonies from past beneficiaries of our Bursary Scheme and their parents below, and visit our fundraising site* by 10th January to make your contribution and ensure that we can help more young Palestinian musicians overcome the barriers that they face to become the leaders of their generation.

    With all best wishes for the coming year,

    John Harte and Michael Stevens
    Choir of London
    http://www.choiroflondon.org

    * https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/8qvdb/ab/c3vrQ

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Craig,
    Recall that the ICC wanted to execute an arrest warrant against Mohmar Gadhafi and the African Union told them to “stuff it”. The US and NATO then did their own alternate execution.
    Last year, the ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, accepted a complaint against UK soldiers in Iraq for reasons of alleged war crimes committed against Iraqis held in custody. This suggests something of a fig leaf step forward – but a step nonetheless. No doubt, some sort of veto or duck and dodge international moves will hide, protect and cover the soldiers. Not sure where this one has so far reached, bearing in mind that the whole Iraq war itself was a crime. Have you seen Blair, in any meaningful way, being pushed closer to the dock in the Hague? Guess not – since one law for them and another for us.
    Milosovic in the Hague, was in perfect accordance with the African indictment approach of indict this one – exclude that one – he is our friend approach.
    I can predict that the US will invoke a veto and protect best friend, Israel. Obama’s recent utterings on the Palestinian move to the ICC are unabashedly shameless.
    The failure of the US to join the US ( while it trumpets ‘Democracy’, ‘Freedom’, ‘Justice’ and Human Rights around the world truly astonishes me when I now weigh the concerted official against Habeas Corpus outside ( in Guantanamo) and inside the US Looking at Iraq with a million dead and many maimed and psychologically damage due to the US war crime of invasion – does not really impact us on the level of appreciating that the West ( in our name) really has done some truly horrific things in this world. Don’t blame me for seeing the truth behind the moves of the imperialists and colonialist.
    Courtenay

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    “Bibi had better stop calling the kettle black. Israel is not a state. It has no borders and knows no law(s).”
    _______________

    What a ridiculous statement, now made for the “n”th time.

    The author is obviously in denial.

    Like it or not (and the fact obviously sticks in her craw), Israel is a state, it exists and will continue to exist, the Hamas Charter notwithstanding. Get used to it!

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Hab,

    A rational question for you:-

    Since there is under international law a recognition of the 1967 border – what then gives the right to Israel to expand and build settlements on Palestinian land – by reference to the same international law? If this is deemed right – is that too not a denial that international law must be applied to the actions and conduct of Israel?

  • Republicofscotland

    According to the Israeli Interior Ministry over 389-thousand Israeli settlers are now living in the West Bank settlements. The number which saw a 15-thousand settlers increase compared to 20-13 is expected to grow rapidly in coming years.

    Palestinians warn that rising number of Jewish settlers means more settlement activities and Palestinian land confiscations.
    Ahead of Israel’s general elections, many Israeli politicians are trying to support settlers and new settlement plans.

    Dani Dayan who is running for Zionist political party HaBayit HaYehudi says recent figures prove settlements in the West Bank are irreversible facts.

    http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/01/03/391471/Number-of-Israeli-settlers-in-West-Bank-reached-400000-in-2014
    ……………………….

    And I thought rats were prolific breeders.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Republic of Scotland,

    So – having said:-

    “Dani Dayan who is running for Zionist political party HaBayit HaYehudi says recent figures prove settlements in the West Bank are irreversible facts.”

    And since a concern of mine was expressed as follows:-

    “Since there is under international law a recognition of the 1967 border – what then gives the right to Israel to expand and build settlements on Palestinian land – by reference to the same international law? If this is deemed right – is that too not a denial that international law must be applied to the actions and conduct of Israel?”

    One sees clear reason for on-going conflict and wars well into the future.

  • Republicofscotland

    “What a ridiculous statement, now made for the “n”th time.

    The author is obviously in denial.

    Like it or not (and the fact obviously sticks in her craw), Israel is a state, it exists and will continue to exist, the Hamas Charter notwithstanding. Get used to it!”
    ……………………………..

    Not everybody recognises the Murderous Military State, of Israel, so there’s hope yet.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_recognition_of_Israel#List_by_country

  • Mary

    If children’s lives are precious, which children?

    The murder of 130 children in Peshawar a few weeks ago has been regularly referred to in the media as the ‘slaughter of innocents’ which it was. Robert Fisk in the Independent pointed out that Israel had murdered 500 children in Gaza and no one was referring to the ‘slaughter of innocents’.

    Some children’s lives are more precious than others, it seems. Just listen to Cameron on the video. Much on Peshawar and the Holocaust but not one mention of the 500 children killed by the Israelis in July and August.

    David Cameron’s Chanucah reception
    By Marcus Dysch, December 22, 2014
    http://www.thejc.com/videos/news-videos/david-camerons-chanucah-reception

    Cameron is a disgusting Zionist supporter.

  • Republicofscotland

    “Since there is under international law a recognition of the 1967 border – what then gives the right to Israel to expand and build settlements on Palestinian land – by reference to the same international law? If this is deemed right – is that too not a denial that international law must be applied to the actions and conduct of Israel?”

    One sees clear reason for on-going conflict and wars well into the future.”
    …………………..

    Very good points Courtenay, Netanyahu is giving financial incentives to Jews to encroach on Palestinian land,as you say the 1967 border recognition keeps popping its head up.

    In my opinion though I fear the UN will make a lot of noise but will not sanction Israel, or force the two side to get together, and create a new Palestinian state, Israel has to many powerful friends.

    Only when Israel has completed its land grab (and there’s no end in sight of that) will it possibly conform, to the UN’s charter, even then I doubt it will behave itself.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Herbie,

    To make the point in a rather horrible and perverse way that “Boundaries can be undrawn,…” – one might consider what ISIS is trying to do by way of restoring its Caliphate.

    One thing for sure – there is no elixir of peace anywhere in sight to soothe any time soon this Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

  • Mary

    @ 5pm That fixation with feathered creatures pops up again. How strange.

    craw – the crop of a bird or insect.

    PS I am neither a bird or an insect.

  • Mary

    Repeating this comment from the previous thread.

    Mary
    3 Jan, 2015 – 8:50 pm

    The Israelis, and in particular Netanyahu, are vile. This is retribution because the Palestinians are making moves for change.

    Israel freezes Palestinian tax funds
    Israel halts the transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority after it applies to join the International Criminal Court.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-30667440

  • Porkfright

    “Can the Hague redeem itself?” One can only live in hope. In reality-probably no more than a snowflake in hell’s chance.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Courtenay

    “Hab,

    A rational question for you:-

    Since there is under international law a recognition of the 1967 border – what then gives the right to Israel to expand and build settlements on Palestinian land – by reference to the same international law? If this is deemed right – is that too not a denial that international law must be applied to the actions and conduct of Israel?”
    ___________________

    What has that question to do with what I was pointing out- namely, that whether Mary and her like-minded friends like it or not, Israel exists (and as a state to boot)?

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    “Some children’s lives are more precious than others, it seems. Just listen to Cameron on the video. Much on Peshawar and the Holocaust but not one mention of the 500 children killed by the Israelis in July and August.”
    _____________

    Yes, it’s as disgusting as you never mentioning Peshawar of the Holocaust on here * but always going on about children in Palestine, isn’t it.

    You hypocrite without shame.

    * not to mention the numerous other places where children are mistreated, maimed, killed…

  • Resident Dissident

    Let us not forget that there is plenty in the Amnesty International reports on the Palestinian Authority that would be actionable by the ICC as well as actions by the Israelis. My fear is that this all gesture politics and that it is just another diversion from getting dialogue going between two sides of what has been so far an intractable problem.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    EoS

    “Not everybody recognises the Murderous Military State, of Israel, so there’s hope yet.”
    ___________________

    Keep hoping, Republicofscotland.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Republic of Scotland,

    As regards your comment:-

    ” In my opinion though I fear the UN will make a lot of noise but will not sanction Israel, or force the two side to get together, and create a new Palestinian state, Israel has to many powerful friends.”

    Many years ago on a visit to the United States, I was driving along listening to a broadcast on PBS ( public radio – and jolly good too – I might add). It was a program called ‘All things considered’. The interviewee was Professor Edward Said ( deceased) – the famous Palestinian intellectual and author of the book “Orientalism”. In a rather clinical way he gave reasons why Israel would not last, including ( but not limited to) points such as:-

    1. About 25% of the citizens of Israel are not Jews.

    2. The birth rates of Palestinians ( in Israel) versus Jews is far higher.

    3. The demographics inside and outside of Israel dictate by a natural process of population increase a shift in the minorities vis-a- vis the majority populations.

    That above is a rough summary of his points. He was arguing that in a predominantly non-Jewish and Muslim region it was not possible to sustain indefinitely a state based on the ethnicity of the Jews – and – not at all by way of reference to the demographics. So, he did not at all see any two-state solution. He stated unequivocally that he saw a one-state solution and buttressed his argument very strongly by reliance on the dynamics Israeli of demographics.

    Now – when one takes Said’s arguments – then places the settlements in context – one sees this:-

    A. Good domestic politics to embrace within Israel for the Jewish ( some)/Zionist (all) constituents.

    B. Bad international politics because the immediate post World War 11 global sympathy and concern and international guilt about the Holocaust has now diminished and in many instances shifted – despite unwavering US support for Israel.

    C. Even nuclear armed Apartheid South Africa with UK and US support to resist change (recall Thatcher’s and Reagan’s position then of “constructive engagement) did not reverse the inevitable tide of resistance and change. So – regardless of how militarily powerful – the tide of history and change flows regardless. If the defeats in Vietnam and Afghanistan do not convince us that change will come regardless of military might of the opponent – then surely I cannot convince anyone that despite the intractability in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the military strength of Israel – change will come.

    Add to A,B and C the military dynamics as history marches on and pits and shifts one force against all the others.

    Food for thought.

    P.S. Some of my best friends are Jews ( not Zionists).

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