Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

The ICC Gets It Right . . . Finally

April 4, 2012 9:55 am 0 comments

An ICC meeting. Photo: ICC Website.

Common sense and the rule of law have finally prevailed.  For the past three years, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been pondering whether the Palestinian Authority (PA) was capable of acceding to ICC jurisdiction.  The process began in January 2009, immediately following the IDF operation in the Gaza Strip to halt the incessant rocket attacks on southern Israel, an operation for which Israel has been pilloried by the international community.  In an attempt to ensnare Israeli soldiers in the ICC’s web, PA officials lodged a declaration in The Hague accepting ICC jurisdiction over “the territory of Palestine.”  Yet, under the Rome Statute which governs the ICC, only “States” are permitted to freely accede to ICC jurisdiction.  Hence, resolving the question of Palestinian “statehood” was key.

In the intervening three years, NGOs and academics of all stripes have flooded the Prosecutor’s office with briefs and other legal memoranda arguing for and against the case for Palestinian statehood.  Through our affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), ACLJ attorneys filed a whole series of legal memoranda and other submissions with the ICC arguing that the Prosecutor lacked authority under the Rome Statute to determine whether an entity like the PA was a “State.”  ACLJ attorneys also traveled to The Hague and met twice with the Prosecutor and his staff to hammer home the argument that the PA, as a non-State entity, was incapable of acceding to ICC jurisdiction.

We repeatedly pointed out that the PA failed to meet the internationally recognized standards for statehood; that international organizations (like the UN, the ICRC, and the Assembly of States Parties of the Rome Statute itself) designated “Palestine” as an “observer” or “entity,” not as a “non-member state,” a readily available category; and that Palestinian officials repeatedly made public statements acknowledging that Palestinian statehood remained a future goal.  Moreover, the recent (failed) Palestinian attempt to be recognized as a state by the UN Security Council demonstrates clearly that the PA could not claim statehood in 2011, much less in 2009 when it lodged its declaration with the ICC.

In the give and take over Palestinian statehood, we encountered a number of creative theories for interpreting plain and unambiguous treaty language to convey the very opposite of what the words actually mean.  When word meanings become so malleable that the term “State” encompasses “non-State,” then language becomes meaningless and justice an illusion.  At times, it was as if we had joined Alice in Wonderland.  For many advocating the Palestinian cause, the rule of law was an inconvenience.  They argued that the ICC should recognize the PA as a State because the PA should be a State.  So much for legal reasoning.

Despite our concerns that the Prosecutor unnecessarily dragged out the issue for over three years, we must acknowledge that he ultimately applied the terms of the Rome Statute correctly.  Nowhere in the Statute does the Prosecutor have any authority to independently determine whether a political entity like the PA is or is not a State.  By applying the Statute’s terms as they are written, the ICC Prosecutor correctly resolved the issue according to law.  A corollary, though no less important, result was that the Prosecutor’s decision is a defeat of yet another attempted instance of lawfare, a term used to describe “a strategy of using—or misusing—law as a substitute for traditional military means to achieve an operational objective.”

In the final analysis, one should always rejoice when justice is served.  Palestinian officials sought to use the ICC to bring Israeli soldiers to trial in The Hague.  The Prosecutor’s decision puts the issue of trying Israeli soldiers before the ICC to rest.  The ACLJ is pleased to have played a role in achieving justice (and thwarting injustice) for Israel in this matter.

Jay Sekulow is Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) and its European affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), located in Strasbourg, France.  Mr. Sekulow led the legal team that met twice with the ICC Chief Prosecutor in The Hague and made the oral arguments on Israel’s behalf at the ICC.

Robert W. Ash is Senior Counsel with the ACLJ and ECLJ.  Mr. Ash led the team that prepared the legal memoranda and other documents filed with the ICC on Israel’s behalf.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Relationships Yossi Vardi Credits Pushy Jewish Mother for His Startup Success

    Yossi Vardi Credits Pushy Jewish Mother for His Startup Success

    Millionaire entrepreneur Yossi Vardi credited his success in start-ups to his Jewish mother continuously pushing him to do better, Daily Mail reported on Thursday. “Jewish mothers are never satisfied and nothing is ever good enough,” he said, adding that his mother, who died 15 years ago, used to compare him with his cousins and say he was “an idiot.” “For most of my life I have been trying to show her I’m not,” he continued. “I keep on trying even now.” Vardi, […]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Seth Rogen Unveils New Christmas Movie — ‘Will Open on Thanksgiving, Made by Jews’ (VIDEO)

    Seth Rogen Unveils New Christmas Movie — ‘Will Open on Thanksgiving, Made by Jews’ (VIDEO)

    Famed actor Seth Rogen on Tuesday unveiled with typical comic fanfare the trailer for his new Christmas film. The movie “was made by Jews… and opens on Thanksgiving,” Rogen pointed out on Twitter. The Night Before tells the tale of three “ride or die homies” celebrating one last debauchery-filled Christmas Eve reunion before they become too busy to keep up their annual tradition. In an effort to make the night as memorable as possible, they set out to find the “Nutcracka Ball – the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish History Art Can Inspire Faith; It Can Also Empower Destructive Ideologies

    Art Can Inspire Faith; It Can Also Empower Destructive Ideologies

    A June 2015 art exhibit, “The Transformative Power of Art,” at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, harnessed the universal language of art to convey an important message: “Our fragile Mother Earth faces the devastating consequences of climate change, a defining challenge of our time.” The exhibit also included sixteen portraits of people from all over the world who have “contributed to the common good of humanity in one way or another and have transformed the way we […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports Israeli Muslim Cage Fighter Says He’s Proud to Fight Under Jewish State’s Flag

    Israeli Muslim Cage Fighter Says He’s Proud to Fight Under Jewish State’s Flag

    A 32-year-old Circassian Israeli Muslim Mixed Martial Arts fighter from Abu Ghosh says he takes pride in fighting under the Israeli flag, Israel’s Walla reported on Sunday. Like most Circassian Israelis, Jackie “the Punishment” Gosh was born Sunni Muslim. He became observant about eight years ago, and is now scrupulous in following his religion’s tenets, praying five times a day and fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. Gosh is also very proud of his Israeli nationality, and sees no contradiction between […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music New Mark Skinner Documentary Explores Jewish, Arab Rap Scene in Israel (VIDEO)

    New Mark Skinner Documentary Explores Jewish, Arab Rap Scene in Israel (VIDEO)

    A new documentary explores the lives and work of Jewish and Arab rappers in Israel and how the ongoing conflict in the region has impacted their lyrics, the U.K.’s Jewish Chronicle reported on Thursday. Hip Hop in the Holy Land is a six-part series co-directed by Mike Skinner, the British frontman of hip-hop group The Streets, and produced by Noisey, a music channel published by Vice news. The first episode, published last week, shows Skinner meeting with Tamer Nafar, the founder of one of […]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada 49ers Running Back Jarryd Hayne Apologizes for ‘Hurtful’ Jesus Tweets

    49ers Running Back Jarryd Hayne Apologizes for ‘Hurtful’ Jesus Tweets

    New 49ers running back and Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne apologized on Wednesday for a tweet in which he raised the age-old myth that Jews were historically responsible for Jesus Christ’s death. Reaching out to his Jewish fans, and the chairman of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission, Hayne tweeted: “To the Jewish community @DvirAbramovich #WeAreAllOne.” Underneath, he keenly included a screenshot of a text message to elaborate on his apology: “I sincerely apologize for my tweets on July 1. I […]

    Read more →
  • Theater Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Recalls Being ‘Extremely Surprised’ at Winning Miss Israel Contest

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Recalls Being ‘Extremely Surprised’ at Winning Miss Israel Contest

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot reminisced about her childhood in Israel during an interview published in this month’s edition of Vanity Fair. “I don’t remember this, but my mom told me that when I was three they threw a party on the rooftop of the house. They put me to bed, and I heard people coming into the house and no one came to me. I went to the rooftop and took a hose and I started to spray water on everyone, just […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Wounded Israeli Soldiers Unite With American Veterans to Help Their ‘Brothers for Life’ Heal (INTERVIEW)

    Wounded Israeli Soldiers Unite With American Veterans to Help Their ‘Brothers for Life’ Heal (INTERVIEW)

    An Israeli organization is helping wounded U.S. veterans move past their physical and psychological challenges by connecting them with injured Israeli soldiers who understand what they’ve been through. “What we discovered very early is that there’s no ‘professional, psychiatrist, social worker’ or anything like that [or] pills that can come even close to helping a soldier who fought in combat, who was wounded, who lost his friends. No one can help him like another person who’s been through exactly what he has,” Rabbi Chaim Levine, […]

    Read more →