Follow us
  >  Democratic Rights   >  Israel commits war crimes in Gaza: Will ICC issue arrest warrant against Netanyahu now?
October 14, 2023 5:40 pm

Israel commits war crimes in Gaza: Will ICC issue arrest warrant against Netanyahu now?

By Staff Writer

Friday (13) Israeli air force distributed leaflets in the North of the Gaza Strip informing the Palestinians there to evacuate to the southern part of Gaza, in view of their planned ground operations against Hamas fighters. 

Courtesy of AlJazeera

Israel has already confirmed that it had dropped more than 6000 bombs weighing 4,000 tonnes  on Gaza during the first six days of the war against Palestinians. The videos show the unfathomable devastation, destruction of skyscrapers, buildings and ghost cities with bewailing men, women and kids. Close to 2000 Palestinians have died due to Israeli bombardment, including hundreds of women and children.   Hospitals, schools and cultural places, places of worship are destroyed. Hospitals and households are  without basic necessities, without electricity, water, fuel and food and medicine as Israel has cut all access to these humanitarian needs. Other videos show the piles of dead bodies and the wounded including the children, kids and the elderly. 

On October 09, Israeli Defence Minister, Yoav Gallant called Palestinians a “beastly people”, and ordered a  “complete siege” of the Gaza Strip. He declared, “no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed ”. Trucks with fuel and food were prevented from entering Gaza from the Rafah border with Egypt, the following day.

All these activities of the Israeli government amount to breach of International humanitarian law, and, if Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is indicted, he would have to be served thousands of charges including those of murder, massacre and genocide. 

While the war is increasingly having traits of an International armed conflict, as Israel is receiving support of the most powerful imperialist forces, the evidence is piling up to prove that Israel has already violated international humanitarian law. The crimes committed by the Israeli government and the army include violation of the  Geneva Convention IV of 1949 and the 1977 Protocols, the 1954 Hague Convention for the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict, the 1980 Protocol (III) on prohibitions or restrictions on the use of incendiary weapons, 1993 Convention on the prohibition of the development, production stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and on their destruction, 1988 Home Statute of International Criminal Court (ICC) and 1954 Convention on cultural property. 

Palestinians evacuate following an Israeli airstrike on the Sousi Mosque in Gaza on Oct. 9. Mahmud Hams/AFP Via Getty Images

Many experts agree that the Israeli government’s decision to cut power, water and fuel supply to the Palestinian enclave amounts to “collective punishment” of the entire population of 2.3 million people.

Even considered as a non-international armed conflict, the Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions apply and, accordingly,  persons taking no active part in the hostilities shall in all circumstances be treated humanely and they should not be subjected to violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture. The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.

The United Nations Human Rights Chief, Volker Turk said, “[t]the imposition of sieges that endanger the lives of civilians by depriving them of goods essential for their survival is prohibited under international humanitarian law.

Paula Gaviria Betancur, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons yesterday (13) demanded that Israel immediately rescind its order for 1.1 million Palestinians to leave northern Gaza within 24 hours, condemning the evacuation order as a crime against humanity and a blatant violation of international humanitarian law.

Forcible population transfers constitute a crime against humanity, and collective punishment is prohibited under international humanitarian law.”

 “We are horrified at the prospect of an additional 1 million Palestinians joining the over 423,000 people already forcibly driven from their homes by the violence over the past week,” she said.

Under Article 8 of the Rome Statute, which establishes the International Criminal Court (ICC), starvation under siege is a war crime. However, ICC has yet to act upon the long atrocities committed against Pestinians. Commenting on this lethargy of the Prosecutor, Mark Kersten, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice & Criminology and the University of the Fraser Valley, wrote to AlJazeera as follows:

“In response to this most recent spate of atrocities, the OTP issued a statement replying to journalist Alice Speri. It said the prosecutor’s investigation is ongoing, that the current conflict falls under the ICC’s jurisdiction, and invited those with “relevant information” to send it to the court. That is good, but not good enough. Why is ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan silent in the face of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Israel and Palestine?

No matter what the prosecutor says or does, the ICC alone cannot stop the violence in Palestine and Israel. But he and the court have a role. Beyond investigating ongoing international crimes and issuing arrest warrants for those most responsible for atrocities in the situation in Palestine, the prosecutor should clearly and unequivocally condemn the violence and promise to address it with all of the powers available to him.”

In March 2023, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the ICC was careful not to delay issuing a warrant of arrest for Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin for alleged crimes committed in respect of the Ukrainian children evacuation process. The World is watching how ICC would now react in respect of the crimes committed by Israel’s Netanyahu regime. 

Human Rights Watch legal support: Questions and Answers: October 2023 Hostilities between Israel and Palestinian Armed Groups

theRepublic.lk aims at developing critical knowledge on concepts, principles and philosophies of public law from an interdisciplinary and internationalist approach. It encourages its readers and contributors to engage in critical legal studies from a Class Approach to Jurisprudence and International law.

Post a Comment