ICC ‘Too Slow’ in Prosecuting Israel for Gaza War Crimes – UN Officials

Why does the ICC keep failing Palestine? (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

UN officials and international law experts have criticized the International Criminal Court (ICC) for its slow handling of prosecuting those responsible for Israel’s war crimes in Gaza. 

UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, Francesca Albanese, shared a post on X from a Save The Children official on Sunday who said that “More than 10 children per day, on average, have lost one or both of their legs in Gaza since (the) conflict erupted three months ago.” 

She commented: “Trials will also be needed. Criminals who have planned, ordered and executed such crimes must be brought to justice.” 

Albanese went on to say that “National courts with jurisdiction over war crimes, CAH (crimes against humanity) & genocide must be activated, as the ICC is proving slow and ineffective on the situation of Palestine.”

For his part, Balakrishnan Rajagopal, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, shared a post on X to support Albanese’s call, saying: “Yes, we need action now. Today. ICC is proving to be too slow.”

He has also added that the “forcible transfer of (the) Gazan population is an act of genocide especially given the high number of (Palestinian) children.”

‘Genocidal Onslaught’ by Israel 

Israel’s military action in the Gaza Strip has been denounced in various quarters as a “genocidal onslaught”, that “Tel Aviv does not even bother to deny.”

The failure of ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan to take measures such as issuing arrest warrants against those responsible, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has been widely criticized.

Triestino Mariniello, a member of the legal team representing Gaza victims before the ICC, has also criticized Khan for applying “double standards” when it comes to war crimes committed by Israel.

“One finds it difficult to understand why the Prosecutor remains silent in relation to the mass killing of Palestinians and the extensive destruction of civilian homes,” Mariniello, Professor of Law at Liverpool John Moores University in the UK, wrote in an article on the Opinio Juris website.

Mariniello said that “While it took the Prosecutor only one year to identify concrete cases in the situation in Ukraine, he has not requested any warrants of arrest or summons in relation to Palestine and Israel in the two years and half since he was sworn in on 16 June 2021,” adding that Khan had inherited “an opened investigation into the situation in Palestine from his predecessor.”

“A few things suggest that the Palestine situation has not been a priority for Khan before October 2023. It seems that no ICC investigator has ever visited Israel or the Palestinian territory,” he argued.

Double Standards

Mariniello said that the way in which the Prosecutor had approached the Palestine investigation appears to be in sharp contrast to the Ukraine situation.

 “After the beginning of the Russian full-scale invasion (in February 2022), Khan undertook several visits to Ukraine, attended press conferences, opened the Court’s biggest field office, deployed 42 investigators, opened an online portal to collect evidence, and raised unprecedented amounts of funding from various states,” he explained.

The ICC Paralysis – Why Does Karim Khan Continue to Fail Palestine?

On the displaced Gazans now in Egypt, Mariniello said: “During his visit to Egypt on 29 October, the Prosecutor did not meet with Palestinian victims displaced from Gaza.”

“When Khan finally decided to talk with Palestinian victims on 2 December, the victims’ expectations immediately turned into disappointment.”

​​​​​​​“Despite the Prosecutor’s words on a potential investigation in relation to the denial of humanitarian relief to Gaza residents, his statements seem to place an emphasis on the investigation of non-state actors,” said the law scholar.

South Africa Refers Israel to ICC

In November 2023, South Africa, along with a few other countries, referred Israel to the ICC for an investigation into alleged war crimes committed during its assault on the Gaza Strip. 

“We have put through a referral because we believe that war crimes are being committed there,” the South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, said.

Ramaphosa stressed that there is “a need for the whole world to rise and call upon the Israeli government to cease fire, to stop what is happening, and we want the ICC to investigate, and of course, legal measures then need to be taken at a global level.”

What You Must Know about the ICJ Case against Israel – Intl. Law Expert Explains

Meanwhile, The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will hold its first public hearing on January 11 in The Hague, to consider the lawsuit filed by South Africa against Israel accusing it of crimes of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.

In a recent interview with The Palestine Chronicle, Mariniello described South Africa’s initiative as “a historic one”.

“For the first time, a country has decided to file a case against Israel before the International Court of Justice over genocide,” Marinello said.

(PC, Anadolu)

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1 Comment

  1. The reason why the icc is delayed, 1.it’s a decrepit western construct designed to only charge its enemies and protect friends, allies
    2. Karim Khan is a Muslim. All Muslims holding position of power are corrupt tyrants. Muslims don’t generally hold the lives of their fellow Muslims as important.
    3.Westerners generally place some value on their collective lives unlike non western people, hence the lack of human rights in the east, Africa etc

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