Seeking Justice Not Revenge: Palestine Submits First Evidence of Israeli War Crimes to ICC
A Palestinian father holds up his dead one-year-old, killed in the Israeli assault. Photo by Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty
In what's being called "a test for the credibility of international mechanisms...a test the world cannot afford to fail," the Palestinian authority has submitted its first evidence of Israeli war crimes to the International Criminal Court in a bid to speed up an ICC inquiry. The dossier charges Israel with apartheid and 22 other counts, including war crimes, in three areas - the assault on Gaza, Israeli settlements on occupied lands, and the treatment of Palestinian prisoners under Israeli military code. The U.S. called the move "counter-productive," and Israel called it "a Palestinian attempt to manipulate and politicize judicial mechanisms." Much of the rest of the world called it an overdue, much-deserved quest for justice.
Gaza is rubble. Reuters photo.
Palestinian leaders seek to charge Israel at the International Criminal Court in The Hague with the crime of “Apartheid” and 22 other criminal counts, including seven war crimes. A thick set of documents containing evidence and arguments was ceremoniously handed over to the ICC today at its headquarters, according to Shawan Jabarin, the director of the Palestinian human rights group Al Haq.
Jabarin said he had seen the documents in Ramallah and that the case file covers three areas of Israeli violations under international law: the summer war in Gaza in 2014, settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and issues relating to Palestinian prisoners. Most of the pages are of “legal analysis and legal arguments” he said, in which Palestinians gave technical explanations to the court for how Israel broke specific regulations.
The dossier is organized into sections, one for each of the 23 counts against Israel. Aside from asserting that Israel has violated the United Nations definition of “Apartheid,” Jabarin said the report also names specific crimes such as the “targeting of civilians” in Gaza, and violations of rights to due process for Palestinian detainees held in Israeli prisons who are then prosecuted under Israeli military code.
Military courts boast a 99.9% conviction rate and trials last an average of five minutes. Palestinians rights groups say these courts violate their fundamental rights to a fair trial. Additionally, Israel transfers Palestinians from the occupied territory to a number of prisons inside Israel in what the Palestinian brief argues is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.