ICC wants to punish Hamas rather than Israel

by Nimer Sultany

Initial comments on the ICC prosecutor request to issue arrest warrants:

1. It is surprising that the request names 2 Israelis but 3 Palestinians, and charges the Palestinians with 8 counts but the Israelis with 7 only.

Although the Prosecutor says he “seeks to charge two of those most responsible”, and the investigation is ongoing, no one can ignore the asymmetry in the infliction of violence, and the ferocity and length in which Israeli leaders committed their crimes.

2. The charges against Hamas, but not Israel, include Torture; Cruel treatment as a war crime; and Outrages upon personal dignity. This is surprising given Israel has treated thousands of Palestinian detainees and prisoners, including 27+ who died in custody.

3. The assessment of the conflict between Hamas/ Palestine and Israel by the Prosecutor in his announcement makes no mention of the occupation.

4. The Prosecutor says “Israel, like all States, has a right to take action to defend its population” – this formulation seems to avoid “self-defence” but again ignores occupation.

5. Although there is an obvious urgency from crimes since October, the ICC Prosecutor says nothing regarding the ongoing and pre-October allegations against Israeli leaders with respect to settlements and apartheid.

6. The Prosecutor makes no mention of genocide, despite the credible allegations in the ICJ, and instead is content with the crimes of starvation and extermination. But these allegations of of violations of IHL may establish Genocide as well.

* It should be mentioned however that the Panel Report accompanying the Prosecutor statement does mention occupation.


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