For Immediate Release
NGOs Gathered in Kampala Call for End to Impunity Crisis Following Israeli Attack on Aid Convoy
WASHINGTON - We, the undersigned organisations gathered in Kampala at the
International Criminal Court (ICC) Review Conference, are shocked by
Israel’s killing and injury of civilians carrying humanitarian supplies
to Gaza. We wish to express our sorrow regarding the loss of life and
call on the international community to immediately take all appropriate
measures in response to this unacceptable violence.
aid convoy seeking to bring humanitarian supplies into the Gaza Strip;
more than 700 unarmed activists from over 40 countries were on board the
8-ship flotilla. The attack occurred in international waters and
resulted in the killing of at least 9 persons and the injury of a
closure imposed by Israel as a form of collective punishment, resulting
in a scandalous, wholly preventable humanitarian crisis. As noted by the
United Nations, Israel currently allows only one-quarter of the
necessary supplies into Gaza. The aid convoy was carrying 10,000 tonnes
of humanitarian goods, including medicines, basic education and
Israel by the international community, despite Israel's documented,
persistent disregard for international and humanitarian law in the
Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and its violation of fundamental
human rights, including the right to life. Many of these violations also
entail criminal responsibility; however, so far no concrete action has
been taken and impunity is a long standing feature of Israel's illegal
“prolonged situation of impunity has created a justice crisis in the
Occupied Palestinian Territory that warrants action.” It is a self
evident truth that law becomes meaningless if not enforced.
boundaries and must be regarded as a matter of concern to the entire
international community. The consequences of continued impunity,
occurring under the glare of the world’s media, have widespread global
implications, undermining faith in international justice and its ability
to protect civilians. No State should be allowed to act above the law.
International Criminal Court (ICC) opens in Kampala, Uganda. On this
historic occasion the entire international community, at the presence of
UN higher authorities, is celebrating international justice’s most
important achievement. The Court is the result of over 50 years of
struggle to enforce international law through accountability; it was
celebrated as the means to uphold the rule of law, to move from war to
impunity for the gravest crimes. Speaking at the opening of the ICC
Review Conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and ICC Prosecutor
Louis-Moreno Ocampo, stated that ‘no one is beyond reach’: perpetrators
of international crimes must be held to account, regardless of their
rank or nationality. International crimes must no go unpunished.
Secretary General strongly condemned Israel's attack on the humanitarian
flottilla to Gaza. States delegates declared themselves shocked and
outraged by the killings. Everybody urged for a strong reaction at the
international level. The UN Security Council immediately called an
emergency session on the incident.
to ensure that these declarations do not remain - once again - dead
words sadly condemned to fade on paper.
attack on Gaza of December 2008-January 2009, the ICC Prosecutor has
been closely monitoring the events in the OPT and examining the
possibility of opening an investigation into the situation. The UN
Security Council can accelerate the process and refer the situation to
the Court, triggering its jurisdiction regardless of the territoriality
and nationality links. The ICC Review Conference is a unique opportunity
for the international community to take a concrete step towards
upholding the rule of law.
triumphed over politics.
closure of the Gaza Strip to be immediately lifted and urge:
- The ICC Prosecutor to make an urgent determination regarding the
opening of an investigation into the situation in the OPT.
- The UN Secretary General: to urgently address the UN Security
Council with respect to the ongoing impunity crisis in Israel and the
OPT in order to engage all appropriate international mechanisms.
- The UN Security Council: to refer the situation to the ICC.
- All States Parties to the ICC: to take all appropriate measure,
at the diplomatic and legal levels, to uphold the rule of law in the OPT
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: to urgently visit the
- Israel to comply with their international legal obligation and
cooperate with investigative authority.
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