Australia and Canada expressed concerns over ICC ruling to probe ‘Israel’ for war crimes

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HAGUE, PALESTINOW.COMSeveral members of the international Criminal Court (ICC) condemned the ICC ruling that it has jurisdiction to open a criminal investigation into ‘Israel’ for war crimes in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, including Australia and Canada.

Last Friday, the International Criminal Court said that its jurisdiction extends to territories occupied by ‘Israel’ in the 1967 war, clearing the way for its chief prosecutor to open a war crimes probe into Israeli war crimes.

“The Court’s territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in Palestine … extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem,” the judges said.

The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said in 2019 that there was a reasonable basis to open a war crimes probe into Israeli war crimes against native Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as well as Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank.

But she asked the court to determine whether she has territorial jurisdiction before proceeding with the case.

Palestine has asked the court to look into Israeli war crimes during its 2014 war against the Gaza Strip, when the Israelis killed 2147 Palestinians including women and children, and wounded 10870 others, as well as Israel’s construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem. Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne reaffirmed Canberra’s position that ICC should not get involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, expressing “deep concerns” about the ruling.

“Australia does not recognize a ‘State of Palestine,’ noting that matters relating to territory and borders can only be resolved through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians,” Payne said on Saturday.

“We made clear in our observations submitted to the Pre-Trial Chamber that Australia does not therefore recognize the right of any so-called ‘State of Palestine’ to accede to the Rome Statute. The [ICC] should not exercise jurisdiction in this matter.”

Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau also said his country “is firmly committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

“Canada strongly supports the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the important work that it does as a key pillar of the rules-based international order. Canada continues to respect the independence of its judges and of the ICC Prosecutor,” Garneau said.

“Canada is firmly committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We continue to support the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, including the creation of a Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel. The creation of a Palestinian state can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties.

 

“Until such negotiations succeed, Canada’s longstanding position remains that it does not recognize a Palestinian state and therefore does not recognize its accession to international treaties, including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Canada has communicated this position to the Court on various occasions.”

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