Boris Johnson Affirms British Opposition to ICC Investigation of Israel, Warns of ‘Partial and Prejudicial Attack’
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed in a letter revealed Tuesday that the United Kingdom opposes the International Criminal Court investigation into alleged war crimes by Israel.
“We oppose the ICC’s investigation into war crimes in Palestine,” Johnson wrote in an April 9 letter to Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), a British pro-Israel parliamentary group affiliated with the Conservative Party.
“We do not accept that the ICC has jurisdiction in this instance, given that Israel is not a party to the Statute of Rome and Palestine is not a sovereign state. This investigation gives the impression of being a partial and prejudicial attack on a friend and ally of the UK,” he continued.
Johnson referred to previous letters sent by CFI urging the prime minister to condemn the opening of the ICC investigation, announced by the court on March 3 in a decision opposed by Israel, the United States and other allied nations.
He also cited the UK’s efforts to “reform” and “strengthen” the court, which is based in The Hague, Netherlands, referencing the recent election of two British nationals to serve in key positions there. In June, Karim Khan — a British lawyer currently heading a United Nations inquiry into war crimes committed by the Islamic State in Iraq — will replace Fatou Bensouda, the outgoing ICC chief prosecutor who is leading the investigation of Israel.
“We strongly welcome the Prime Minister’s confirmation of the UK’s opposition to the ICC’s controversial investigation,” said CFI Parliamentary Chairmen, Rt. Hon. Stephen Crabb MP and Rt. Hon. The Lord Pickles, and CFI Honorary President Lord Polak in a statement.
“The investigation has rightly been condemned for giving ‘the impression of being a partial and prejudicial attack on a friend and ally.’ As the Prime Minister states, the ICC does not have jurisdiction and we support the UK’s decision to stand with Israel against the probe.”