The probe launched by the International Criminal Court (ICC)'s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, into Israel’s war crimes in the West Bank and Gaza has made a great deal of noise in the global arena.
Bensouda, who believes there is reasonable cause for the investigation, wants the court to decide whether Palestine and Israel are within the boundaries of its jurisdiction.
The ICC is supposed to respond to Bensouda’s request within 120 days. Of course, Bensouda didn’t arbitrarily just make this announcement.
Palestine signed the “Rome Statute” which made possible the establishment of the International Criminal Court in 2014 and since then it has been struggling to bring Israel to court.
Palestine, one of the signatory states of the Rome Statute, most recently applied to the court in May 2018.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki complained about the delay in reviewing their application to the ICC at the “Meeting of States“ held in The Hague in early December.
Maliki said that the prolonging of the preliminary investigation contributed to the crimes going unpunished and to the violation of the basic rights of the Palestinians, who are rightfully seeking justice in the court.
When Palestine is the one being the oppressed with Israel as its oppressor, this delay is no surprise at all.
The U.S.’s unconditional support to Israel is one of the biggest impediments Palestine faces.
Condemnation regarding chief prosecutor Bensouda’s investigation once again came from none other than the U.S. and Israel.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who says that they don’t consider Palestine as an independent state, claims that Palestine has no right to be included as a state in international organizations, including the ICC.
The U.S. and Israel are not signatory parties of the Rome Statute, which has caused a serious crisis between the Trump administration and the EU.
The EU and ICC consider America’s threats as an attack on the rule of law. The Trump administration has severely criticized the ICC launching a probe into U.S. soldiers, who have committed grave massacres against civilians in Afghanistan.
In September 2018, Trump’s National Security adviser John Bolton threatened that in the event that the ICC launched a probe into U.S. soldiers then Washington would ban its judges from entering the country and even sanction the court’s funds.
Referencing Israel, Bolton said:The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court. Would you leave the fate of American soldiers in a court that has members like Venezuela and the Palestinian administration, which is not yet a state? We won’t.”
Bolton’s statement also rings true for the United Arab Emirates, which is a party to the civil war in Yemen.
The London-based Arab Organization of Human Rights (AOHR) filed a criminal complaint to The Hague’s International Criminal Court against the UAE, stating that foreign mercenaries fighting for the UAE in Yemen had launched countless attacks against civilians. What will happen in this instance also remains to be seen.
The UAE, which is one of the esteemed customers of the American military–industrial complex, is of course not a signatory party of the “Rome Statute.”
Attorney for the Arab Human Rights Organization Joseph Breham on the other hand says that the perpetrators of the said war are mercenaries from countries that recognize the ICC, such as Columbia, El Salvador, Panama, South Africa and Australia. In this sense, the ICC has jurisdiction. In air strikes conducted by the UAE, civilian homes, schools and hospitals are being targeted.”
The U.S. is saying: “I make the rules. I deal the deck and I will decide who wins.”
This more or less summarizes the U.S.’s perception of the world order.
Is there any hope at all for a world order where the oppressed are hindered from seeking justice and criminals are protected?