Archive for ICC/ICJ

Oh, Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

They said if Israel would just work with Arab states more, things would improve with the so-called Palestinians.

And they were right!

Israel has given the Egyptian army authorization to move two more battalions into the Sinai Peninsula Thursday.

In addition to the infantry battalions, the Egyptians will also move attack helicopters into positions in the Sinai, according to Army Radio, which reported that the decision was made in order to enable Egypt to fight radical elements in the peninsula.

Egypt has ramped up its operations in the Sinai since an attack last month on a military installation by local jihadist organization Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis left 31 soldiers dead. Following the attack, Egypt closed its border with the Gaza Strip and began construction on a buffer zone in the area.

The Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty limits the number of troops Cairo can deploy in the Sinai, but Israel has given its blessing to move in more forces as Egypt began making a concerted effort last year to rein in Islamist groups.

You don’t hear much talk about it these days, but there is also undoubtedly cooperation between Israel and the Sunni gulf states to stop Iran’s nuclear program—especially with Barack Hussein Obama and John Farouq Kerry ready to hand them the keys to the silo.

In other news:

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor says she will not take action over Israel’s deadly commando raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010.

Fatou Bensouda said this was despite a “reasonable basis to believe that war crimes… were committed on one of the vessels, the Mavi Marmara”.

But she said the ICC had to prioritise war crimes committed on a large scale.

Nine Turkish activists were killed on the ship as it attempted to breach a blockade of the Palestinian territory.

“Activists”, ha! That would make Tony Sopranos crew activists. The Manson gang were activists. But I’ll take my good news where I can find it. If the limit is nine terrorists killed, but ten will get you charged, Israel has its marching orders. “Nine is fine; ten is a sin.”

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See You in Court!

So, Abbas wants to sue Israel, huh?

Good luck with that. Something tells me Israel has lots of good lawyers.

Israel is moving forward with plans for two major settlement projects in east Jerusalem, a spokeswoman said Tuesday, even as a senior Palestinian official warned that his government could pursue war crimes charges if Israel does not halt such construction.

A senior Abbas aide, Nabil Shaath, said late Monday that “by continuing these war crimes of settlement activities on our lands and stealing our money, Israel is pushing and forcing us to go to the ICC.”

Imagine the crime of building houses for Israelis in [gasp] Jerusalem! Why, wherever will they put them?

British Foreign Secretary William Hague warned Tuesday that the latest Israeli building plans would make the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, “almost inconceivable.”

From your lips to G-d’s ear, Bill.

As to stealing your money, some would call that collecting on a debt:

The finance minister said, “I have no intention of transferring the tax payments to the PA this month. I plan to use them to offset the Palestinian debt to the Israel Electric Corporation.”

But you know why Abbas and his Arab brethren are calling the calling the construction of a few split-level ranch houses a “war crime”, don’t you?

‘Cause that’s all he has:

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas indicated on Friday that his people would refer Israel to the ICC only in a case of “aggression” by the Jewish state.

“Going to the ICC is now our right, but we are not going to do it now, and we will not do it, except in the case of aggression” by Israel, he told reporters in New York, according to AFP.

Palestinian Authority leaders threatened this week they would petition the ICC if an investigation finds proof that late PLO head Yasser Arafat was poisoned.

“If it is proved that Arafat was poisoned, we will go to the international court,” said Tawfiq Tirawi, head of the PA commission investigating Arafat’s death, referring to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“We will wait for the results of the investigation,” he said. “We are not accusing anyone so far but regardless of the result, we will continue looking for the truth about how he died.”

He died of AIDS, you big goof. His own doctor said so. His collection of Judy Garland CDs wasn’t enough of a clue?

But this is why I disregard and disrespect so much of international law. UN resolutions can be passed and ignored (even rescinded), no matter how insane or contradictory, until the next resolution passes, which makes the previous one look like the work of Oliver Wendell-freakin’-Holmes.

The UN expresses its opinion by majority vote. Take a look at the roster of countries in that maggoty body and ask yourself by how many of them you would let yourself be judged. Even the permanent members of the Security Council (especially them) would have me checking for my wallet and watch after shaking hands (or bowing, or kissing cheeks, eww).

I don’t know much about the ICC (except for once confusing it with the ICJ—as if you knew any better), but I reject the whole construct. Justice works only if those being judged can have any faith in the intelligence and impartiality of those doing the judging. There must be redress and recourse. How can Israel—a sovereign state, answerable only to its citizens—lay itself before the mercy of any court, given the climate of hostility against it?

Once upon a time (1917, 1923), Britain and the League of Nations decreed a huge swath of the Middle East (modern day Israel, Jordan, Gaza, and the West Bank) to be the homeland for the Jewish people. Jordan didn’t stay Jewish for long, needless to say, and the rest of the land was never delivered, either. The Jews immigrated, bought, took, and otherwise fought for whatever land they could get. It had been promised to them twice, once by God, once by man, but no legal authority ever created Israel. Jews did.

And no legal authority (save its own, which can be quite strict) is going to sit in judgement on it.

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There’ll Always Be a Palestine

If there weren’t, we’d have to invent one, just for the comedic possibilities.

Is their civil war over, for example?

Ye—no! I mean n–yes! Oh well, you decide:

“PLO secretary Yasser Abed Rabbo is not a party in the
Palestinian dialogue, and he does not represent any Palestinian side,”
Hamas leader Mushir Al-Masri said responding to the official’s Friday statement later in the day.

Abed Rabbo had declared the death of Palestinian conciliation dialogue while speaking to journalists earlier in the day, and intimated that he spoke on behalf of Palestinian factions who are members of the PLO. The official also said he expected Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to call for elections on 25 October, saying elections are the only way out of the dialogue cycle.

Hamas wants elections, Al-Masri said, noting the party’s popularity in the West Bank has gone up over past weeks. “The Egyptian plan discusses elections, and those who want elections before reconciliation plan to thwart the Egyptian efforts,” he added.

“Reconciliation is a strategic choice for Hamas both rhetorically and practically, and we intend to sign the Egyptian agreement and make sure it is implemented,” he added.

Sounds like a definite maybe.

Their words having failed to give us a clue, let us examine their actions:

Hamas will file a lawsuit in Palestinian courts against recent allegations launched by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that de facto government leaders fled the Gaza Strip in ambulances during Israel’s war on the area over the winter.

Abbas first presented the accusation on Tuesday in a Jenin speech, and again in Ramallah on Friday.

He told the more than 100 assembled members that “They [Hamas] kept accusing us of compliance, while their leaders fled the Gaza Strip to Egypt in ambulances.”

Israel’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Aharon Leshno Yaar, used the quote to defend the country against South African jurist Richard Goldstone’s report on the Gaza war. He said that even Abbas admitted that “the Hamas movement hid in basements.”

“The leaders of Hamas ran away in ambulances to Sinai and left our people to bleed,” the president was quoted as saying by the ambassador on Thursday, during the lead-up to the Human Rights Council’s vote.

On Saturday, Az-Zahar called for Abbas to name those who fled to the Sinai, and noted he should be obliged to present evidence for what he termed such outrageous claims.

That’s right, fat boy. Put up or shut up. Talking smack is easy. We want to see pictures of Hamass terrorists wearing skirts, blonde wigs, and sexy black pumps to escape. We want to see their stubbly faces pressed against the ambulance windows, terror in their eyes.

Don’t look now, but this long-running farce is about to take a turn for the even more hilarious:

Palestinian Minister of Justice Ali Al-Khashan presented documents to the attorney general of the International Criminal Court on Friday, which outlined allegations of Israeli war crimes committed prior to the war on Gaza.

Al-Khashan said he also answered several inquiries from the court that would guarantee Palestine a place within the Rome Statute and thus full membership at the court. He said in a phone interview that he and a delegation were preparing papers requested by the court in preparation for full membership.

In order to become a member a state must sign then ratify the Rome Statute. Once a state is a member of the ICC, the court can proceed with investigations into crimes which may have occurred on the territory of the member, or by a national of the member.

A Palestinian “minister of justice”? Oh, my sides. What does he do, minister to suspected collaborators as their bullet ridden bodies are dumped on the side of the road; provide justice for women accused of riding motorcycles (a crime now in Gaza)? I just wonder how many other non-states (patches of dust and septic tanks, really) are members of the ICC?

The world community thinks that it can provide legitimacy to any organized pogrom by merely adding “international” to its title. Hitler’s SS would have been adopted by the UN if they had only called themselves the Internationaler Schutzstaffel. (Something like this, if you’ll excuse my sick fantasy.)

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I would like to invite the Palestinians to become charter members of the International League of Eaters of Dog S**t. In fact, they can be the sole members of ILEDS, so special is their place in my heart.

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He May Be an Indicted Genocidalist

But the African Union says he’s our indicted genocidalist:

The African Union’s (AU) decision not to help arrest Sudan’s president will not affect the International Criminal Court’s work, its prosecutor says.

Luis Moreno Ocampo told the BBC Omar al-Bashir was still a wanted man and that it was up to each African state to decide whether to arrest him.

Mr Bashir was indicted over alleged atrocities in Darfur in March.

But on Friday an AU meeting in Libya agreed a resolution saying they would not co-operate in his arrest.

And you know who’s head of the AU these days, don’t you?


He is the very model of a modern Major-General

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Well, What Did You Expect?

You treat a homicidal maniac like the homicidal maniac he is, how did you expect him to behave?

Like something other than a homicidal maniac?

The UN secretary general has urged Sudan to rethink its decision to expel aid groups from its Darfur region.

Ban Ki-moon said the decision could cause “irrevocable damage” to the humanitarian operations in Sudan.

The order came after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir over alleged war crimes.

Aid agencies have expressed concern over the potential impact of the move on thousands of displaced people.

Of course Omar would starve the poor little darlings of Darfur—that’s essentially what you’re accusing him of. What did you think he’d do, put his hands in the air and come out peaceably? That must be some other Omar al-Bashir you’re thinking of, not this guy.

I still say the dirtiest trick that could ever be played on anyone is to leave them to the defense of the UN. I wouldn’t do that to a garden slug.

But it suits the Palestinians!

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ICC-ey

A few weeks ago, I got clubbed with a two-by-four (especially by this site) for confusing the International Criminal Court (ICC) with the International Court of Justice (ICJ)—the former being largely independent of the United Nations, the latter being infected with the same strain of anti-Semitism that afflicts the rest of that wretched institution. [Revisit my humiliation here.]

Since then, I’ve followed up with the news that I wasn’t wrong, so much as premature.

Now, Alan Dershowitz weighs in:

There are efforts now underway to try to bring Israel before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on charges of alleged war crimes. Neither Israel nor the United States has signed on to this court, primarily out of fear that its power would be used against democracies that try their best to avoid war crimes, rather than against dictatorships and terrorist nations that routinely engage in them. This has certainly been the experience with many United Nations organizations, even including the International Court of Justice, which is largely a sham when it comes to Israel and other democracies under attack.

There has been high hope among some human rights experts that the ICC would be different for two reasons: First and foremost it is not a United Nations court. It was established by the Rome Statute, a treaty adopted in 1998 after years of negotiations, and is largely independent of the United Nations, though not completely so. Cases can be referred to it by the UN Security Council under Article 13(b) of the treaty. The second reason the ICC has encouraged optimism is that the person appointed as the court’s Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocompo, has a sterling reputation for objective law enforcement and basic fairness.

The ICC has rightly opened up investigations of genocide in Darfur, Sudan,. (It is now under pressure to suspend any prosecution of President Omar al-Bashir). It has not opened investigations with regard to Russia’s alleged war crimes in Chechnya and Georgia, where thousands of innocent civilians were killed. Nor has it opened investigations with regard to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, the Congo and other places where civilians are routinely targeted as part of military and terrorist campaigns. Nor – to its credit – has it opened an investigation of Great Britain and the United States, whose armed forces have inadvertently caused the deaths of thousands of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Were it now to open an investigation of Israel, ICC would be violating the cardinal principle that must govern all international prosecutions: namely, that the worst must be prosecuted first. It would also be violating its own rules which mandate that the International Criminal Court will not become a substitute for domestic courts.

Listen to retired British Colonel Richard Kemp – a military expert who, based on his experience, concluded that there has been “no time in the history of warfare when an Army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties…than [the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza].”

The prosecutor of the ICC must resist pressures – from the United Nations, from radical ideologues and from other biased sources – to apply a double standard to Israel by singling the Jewish state out from among law-abiding democracies for a war crimes investigation. No international court can retain its credibility if it inverts the principle of “the worst first” and instead goes after one of the best as one its first.

The ICC can still walk away from this, and perhaps we should have faith that they will. I do not. I look forward to being proved wrong again.

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Israel in the Dock Again

Last time I took on the ICC (International Criminal Court), I got deservedly dope-slapped for confusing it with that already-proven court of anti-Semitic opinion, the ICJ (International Court of Justice).

Looks like I was just premature:

The International Criminal Court is exploring ways to prosecute Israeli commanders over alleged war crimes in Gaza, the London-based The Times newspaper reported Monday.

According to the paper, the alleged crimes include the use of deadly white phosphorus in densely populated civilian areas. Israel initially denied using the controversial weapon, which causes horrific burns, but was forced later, in the face of mounting evidence, to admit to having deployed it and order the Israel Defense Forces to launch an investigation into the matter, The Times said.

When Palestinian groups petitioned the ICC this month, its prosecutor said that it was unable to take the case because it had no jurisdiction over Israel, a non-signatory to the court. Now, however, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the ICC prosecutor, has told The Times that he is examining the case for Palestinian jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed in Gaza.

He added that his examination of the case did not necessarily reflect a belief that war crimes had been committed in Gaza. Determining jurisdiction was a first step, he said, and only after it had been decided could he launch an investigation.

Palestinian lawyers argue that the Palestinian Authority should be allowed to refer the cases in Gaza on this same ad hoc basis – despite its lack of internationally recognized statehood.

According to The Times, the case has wide-reaching ramifications for the Palestinian case for statehood. If the court rejects the case, it will highlight the legal black hole that Palestinians find themselves in while they remain stateless.

First they have to sort through the legal gobbledygook to see if the Pale-snit-ians even have standing, then they’ll consider the libels and slanders against Israel.

I hope they take testimony from the International Red Cross, by the way, which cleared Israel of using white phosphorous illegally.

And maybe they can take testimony, too, regarding the random firing of rockets and mortars at population centers not engaged in any military activity whatsoever.

Everyone acknowledges that Hamass used human shields routinely during Operation Eat Lead. When will those hearings start?

And if they are not a state, are not the Pale-snit-ians merely squatters and trouble-makers on someone else’s land. (They certainly are the latter.) It’s a sincerely asked question: who else holds a status like theirs (and gets paid b-b-billions of dollars for it)?

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The International Criminal Court of Justice [CORRECTED]

[CORRECTION BELOW IN COMMENTS]

There’s a debate raging in the comments section of my post Darfurther Nonsense LX over my throwaway line about the ICJ (or ICC):

“They’ve never heard a complaint against Israel they haven’t embraced.”

Overlooking the point of the post, namely that the ICJ has warned the UN not to ignore or excuse genocide in Sudan—surely an important point to consider, especially when member states on the Security Council are on the verge of doing just that—a couple of pedantic readers have taken me to task for not citing incontrovertible truth of that statement (and for employing a double negative).

Eager to satisfy every customer, I happily complied:

However, alongside Israel’s support for the aspirations of the court, Israel has concerns as to how effectively these will be achieved through the court as it has been constituted. A major concern is that the court will be subjected to political pressures and its impartiality will be compromised. Israel has recently witnessed many international bodies, established for the highest goals such as protecting human rights and fighting racism, cynically abused and turned into political tools. Clearly, the court could only be effective if it remains scrupulously impartial. Regrettably, there are already some troubling indications that this impartiality may be compromised:

Rewriting principles of international law – and inventing new crimes: While the court was intended to address the crimes which had been recognized as being the most serious crimes in international law, in practice the statute of the court frequently fails to reflect those crimes accurately.

For Israel, the clearest example of distorting existing principles of international law, as part of a political agenda, is the inclusion as a war crime of: “the transfer, directly or indirectly, by the occupying power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”. This particular offense represents neither a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, nor does it reflect customary international law. The inclusion of this offense, under the pressure of Arab states, and the addition of the phrase “directly or indirectly,” is clearly intended to try to use the court to force the issue of Israeli settlements without the need for negotiation as agreed between the sides.

Selective lists of crimes: The list of crimes included in the court’s statute is highly selective. Offenses such as terrorism and drug-trafficking are not included, because of political disputes over their definition and scope. The paradoxical result is that a state acting against acts of terrorism may find itself under the scrutiny of the court for the way it exercises its right of self-defense, while the terrorists themselves are outside the court’s jurisdiction.

Appointment of judges: One area in which Israel fears that political discrimination is likely is the appointment of judges to the court. Such appointments are, according to the statute, to be made having consideration to “equitable geographical representation.” This formula reflects the standard mode for elections in UN organs based on the UN regional groups system. As Israel is the only UN member state which is not accepted as a full member of any of the regional groups in the system, it seems that no Israeli candidate – however competent – could be elected as judge.

The extensive powers of the prosecutor: In an attempt to bridge the gaps between civil and common law systems, the court has adopted a hybrid approach in which the prosecutor has extensive powers, including to initiate proceedings on his or her own initiative. Israel is concerned that these far-reaching powers are inconsistent with checks and balances necessary in any legal system and leave the role of the prosecutor open to potential abuse.

But that wasn’t good enough for our correspondents (and there’s still the matter of that damned double negative).

So let me go further:

The farce currently playing out in the Hague, where the so-called International Criminal Court of Justice is deliberating over the legality of Israel’s security fence, was laid bare by the suicide bombing in Jerusalem on Sunday, 2/22/04. A member of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade, an integral part of Yassir Arafat’s Fatah faction, killed eight people and wounded more than 50 aboard a Jerusalem bus.

Demonstrating the duplicity for which he’s famous, Arafat condemned an attack that he himself was responsible for. And only one day after this atrocity, he and his henchmen, enlisting the help of sympathetic leftists from Israel and beyond, launched a “Day of Rage” to protest the building of the security barrier.

Adding insult to injury, all of this took place against a backdrop of Israeli concessions. The Israeli Defense Forces had announced on Saturday, 2/21/04, that workers would start dismantling a five-mile section of the fence, which the Palestinians alleged was separating their communities. As always, Palestinian leadership dismissed the gesture, insisting on the dismantling of the entire fence or nothing at all.

The International Criminal Court of Justice (ICJ) is an arm of the UN General Assembly, which has proven itself to be unequivocally anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. Indeed, Secretary-General Annan’s report to the ICJ did not describe a single terrorist act against Israelis, but instead painted a picture of blameless Palestinians suffering under human rights abuses. Even more outrageously, relatives of Israeli terrorism victims were not allowed to take part in the proceedings. But the hollow shell of the number 19 Egged bus, which was destroyed along with its passengers in a suicide bombing a month ago in Jerusalem, sat across the street from the court, a stark reminder of the missing voice in the equation.

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The meaningless hearings were attended by such human rights defenders as Sierra Leone, China, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and Cuba, all of whom argued against Israel’s right to defend itself.

I love “teachable moments”, don’t you? There’s a lot more background here, if you’re really interested (here’s a taste):

And why should the Court single out Israel’s actions? Has it ever ruled on the dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir or the conflict between Greece and Turkey over Cyprus or any of the dozens of other international border disputes?

India, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey voted to refer the Israeli fence to the ICJ even though each has built their own barriers. India is just completing a 460-mile barrier in Kashmir to halt infiltrations supported by Pakistan; Saudi Arabia built a 60-mile barrier along an undefined border zone with Yemen to halt smuggling of weaponry; and Turkey built a barrier in the southern province of Alexandretta, which was formerly in Syria and is an area that Syria claims as its own. Ironically, after condemning Israel’s barrier, the UN itself announced plans to build a fence to improve security around its New York headquarters.

How many Israeli buses have been bombed by Palestinian terrorists since the fence was built, by the way? Without a bulldozer, it’s gotten significantly more difficult to kill Jews in Israel.

So, I feel I’ve done my job. Perhaps my interlocutors can do their part and cite one decision by the ICJ—just one—favorable to Israel. We would be grateful for the edification, and I would publicly withdraw (or at least amend) my earlier statement.

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