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European leaders condemn meddling on International Criminal Court’s probe into Israeli war crimes

18th Jun 2021
European leaders condemn meddling on International Criminal Court’s probe into Israeli war crimes

The political interference of the former US President Donald Trump and UK PM Boris Johnsonin the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) probe into alleged war crimes in Palestine. has been slammed by European leaders 

(Credit: Shealah Craiughead/White House)

Elham Asaad Buaras

More than 50 senior European officials, including former prime ministers and foreign ministers, have condemned political interference in the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) probe into alleged war crimes in Palestine.

They warned against attempts to discredit the court and said obstructing its work ‘would have grave consequences.’
In an open letter, the former prime ministers of France, Italy, Ireland and Sweden rebuke world leaders, including former US President Donald Trump and UK PM Boris Johnson, for criticising the court’s efforts to hold Israel accountable for suspected war crimes.

The current probe into war crimes in Israel and the Palestinian territories is investigating crimes committed since June 13, 2014, before Israel launched Operation Protective Edge against the Gaza Strip, which lasted seven weeks and killed more than 2,000 Palestinians.

‘We witnessed with serious concern the executive order issued in the United States by the former president Donald Trump and the sanctions designated against the court’s staff and their family members,’ reads the letter published by the Guardian on May 31.

‘Deeply worrying is now the unwarranted public criticism of the court regarding its investigation of alleged crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territory, including unfounded accusations of antisemitism.’
‘It is well established and recognised that accountability for serious rights violations by all sides to a conflict is essential for achieving a sustainable and lasting peace,’ it continues.
While Trump’s move to sanction court officials last year was reversed by the Biden Administration, Johnson has remained critical.

Last month, when referring to Israel, Johnson said the ICC investigation gave “the impression of being a partial and prejudicial attack on a friend and ally of the UK’s.”

Outgoing ICC Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced in March that the court had launched an investigation into alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories, following a preliminary probe on jurisdiction.

‘In a time of increasing challenges to the multilateral order and an independent judiciary in many corners of the world and within Europe itself, preserving the ICC’s legitimacy and mandate becomes an imperative,’ the letter says.
The letter says interference cannot be tolerated ‘if we are serious about promoting and upholding justice globally’.

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