ICC Absolves Israeli Lawlessness
by Stephen Lendman
April 4, 2012
Established by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on July 1, 2002, it's mandated to prosecute individuals for genocide and aggression, as well as crimes or war and against humanity.
Instead, it functions solely as an imperial tool. It supports wealth and power. It targets independent states Washington and other Western nations oppose. In the process, it lets America and rogue NATO powers get away with murder.
Chief prosecutor Jose Luis Moreno Ocampo's complicit in their crimes. Now he's done it again. On April 3, Haaretz headlined, "ICC rejects Palestinian bid to investigate Israeli war crimes during 'Cast Lead' Gaza operation," saying:
On Tuesday, Ocampo rejected the PA's request. His reasoning was spurious. He claimed under the Rome Statute, "only internationally recognized states can join the court." His official statement said:
"(T)he current status granted to Palestine by the United Nations General Assembly is that of 'observer,' not as a 'Non-member State,' (and only) relevant bodies at the United Nations" or group of states that make up the court may decide if Palestinians can become part of the Rome Statute.
"(T)he Office has assessed that it is for the relevant bodies at the United Nations or the Assembly of States Parties to make the legal determination whether Palestine qualifies as a State for the purpose of acceding to the Rome Statute and thereby enabling the exercise of jurisdiction by the Court."
"The Rome Statute provides no authority for the Office of the Prosecutor to adopt a method to define the term 'State.' "
Palestine IS a state. Over 140 nations recognize it, well over the required General Assembly's two-thirds majority. In the late 1980s, Francis Boyle drafted Palestine's declaration of independence.
On November 15, 1988, the Palestine National Council (PNC) adopted his Memorandum of Law. It "proclaimed the existence of the new independent state of Palestine."
A de facto UN member, it only lacks de jure status because of Abbas won't seek it. If he tried, it's easily gotten.
Boyle's "CREATE THE STATE OF PALESTINE" Memorandum of Law explained requirements necessary for recognition. They include:
- "a determinable (not necessarily fixed) territory;" its borders are negotiable; the new state is comprised of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem; Palestinians have lived there for millennia; it's their nation state;
- a fixed population;
- a functioning government; in 1988, Arafat declared the PLO as Palestine's Provisional Government; and
- the capacity to enter into relations with other states; over 140 nations recognize Palestine; others haven't because, under occupation, it lacks effective control; still others disagree, saying Israel isn't in control; it's an occupier, an illegal one; on December 15, 1988, the General Assembly recognized Palestine's legitimacy, affording it observer status.
Palestine satisfies all essential membership criteria. Moreover, all UN Charter states (including America and Israel) provisionally recognized Palestine in accordance with UN Charter article 80(1) and League Covenant article 22(4).
Further, as the League's successor, the General Assembly has exclusive legal authority to designate the PLO as the Palestinian peoples' legitimate representative.
The Palestine National Council (PNC) is the PLO's legislative body. It's empowerered to proclaim the existence of Palestine. According to the binding 1925 Palestine Citizenship Order in Council, Palestinians, their children and grandchildren, automatically are citizens. So are diaspora Palestinians. Those living in Israel and Jordan have dual nationalities, and residents of the Occupied Territories remain "protected persons," according to Fourth Geneva, until a final peace settlement is reached.
There's more, including simple steps to gain full de jure UN membership. If properly done, it can't be blocked. The Security Council only recommends admissions. The General Assembly affirms them by a two-thirds vote. If proper procedures are followed, it's rubber stamp certain.
Palestine already has statehood. Ocampo suggesting otherwise reveals his imperial agenda and support for lawlessness. In the future, he said, the ICC could "consider allegations of crimes committed in Palestine, should competent organs of the United Nations or eventually the Assembly of States Parties resolve the legal issue" regarding Palestine's membership status.
In January 2009, Palestinian Justice Minister Ali Khashan recognized the ICC's authority "for the purpose of identifying, prosecuting and judging the authors and accomplices of crimes committed on the territory of Palestine since July 1, 2002."
The ICC considered the possibility. During discussions, Arab League representatives submitted evidence of Israeli war crimes. In July 2011, the PA appealed to the ICC in writing.
Instead of doing his job as international law and his own mandate require, Ocampo again bowed to power. He supported wrong over right. He absolved Israeli crimes.
Moreover, although Israel signed the Rome Statute, it sent UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan the following statement:
"....in connection with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court....Israel does not intend to become a party to the treaty. Accordingly, Israel has no legal obligations arising from its signature on 31 December 2000. Israel requests that its intention not to become a party....be reflected in the depositary's status lists relating to this treaty."
In other words, Israel wants all rights and privileges the Rome Statute affords but none of its obligations. It's gotten everything it wants, especially from Annan, his successor Ban, Ocampo, and Western leaders. They're replicas of each other. They defile their sworn mandates. They support power, lawlessness, and criminality. They ignore fundamental rule of law justice.
Last year, Ocampo compounded his hypocrisy by illegally indicting and issuing arrest warrants for Gaddafi, his son Saif, and Libya's intelligence chief, Abjullah al-Sanoussi.
Besides charging victims of NATO's war of aggression, Libya wasn't a Rome Statute signatory. As a result, the ICC had no authority to act. Ocampo did anyway. He followed orders. He's an imperial tool. Now he's done it again.
Worse still, he refused to investigate US/NATO Iraq and Libyan war crimes. AfPak ones also since July 1, 2002 when the Rome Statute became effective.
When established, it was hoped victims of genocide and aggression, as well as crimes of war and against humanity, would achieve justice. Instead, they've been subordinated to Western imperial interests. Ocampo's complicity supports them. Victims are punished a second time.
ICJ Rules Against Israel
In July 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled Israel's Separation Wall illegal. It said its West Bank route and associated gate and permit system violated Israel's obligations under international law.
It ordered completed sections dismantled, and "all legislative and regulatory acts relating thereto" repealed or rendered "ineffective forthwith."
It also mandated reparations for the "requisition and destruction of homes, businesses, and agricultural holdings (and) return (of) land, orchards, olive groves, and other immovable property seized."
It obligated member states to reject the illegal construction and demand Israel comply with international law.
Most nations ignored the ruling. Israel defied it and keeps building. When completed, it'll be over 800 km long, twice the length of the Green Line, four times as long as the Berlin Wall, and in some places twice as high on about 12% of stolen Palestinian land.
The ICJ's non-binding ruling called on the Security Council to consider "further action" to halt Wall construction, order sections built dismantled, and compensate affected Palestinians for their loss.
Court President Shi Jiuyong said:
"The court is of the view that the United Nations, and especially the General Assembly and the Security Council, should consider what further action is required to bring to an end the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall."
He added that Israel's alleged "military exigencies," "national security," or "public order" needs didn't justify its construction. Continuing it is "tantamount to de facto annexation" and "severely impede(s Palestinian) self-determination."
He also urged "reboubl(ing)" UN efforts to end the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Its continuance he called a threat to world peace.
Washington prevented the Security Council from enforcing the ICJ ruling. However, it stands in contrast to Ocampo repeatedly subordinating his mandate to wealth and power interests.
Instead of prosecuting individuals responsible for genocide and aggression, as well as crimes of war and against humanity, he only targets victims.
Absolving Washington, NATO, and Israel defiles the Court's mandate and makes him a willing imperial accomplice.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.