The International Criminal Court’s Recent Moves against Israel Expose Its Bias

While Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), was initially reluctant to launch proceedings against the Jewish state, she has since given in to pressure from the judges themselves and laid the legal groundwork for a formal investigation. This week, Bensouda responded to objections—raised by Germany, Australia, Uganda, and other countries—that the court has no jurisdiction in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Richard Kemp explains:

The court’s founding Rome Statute allows investigations only within the sovereign territories of state parties to the treaty. But the prosecutor has unlawfully accepted delegated jurisdiction over the West Bank, east Jerusalem, and Gaza from what she calls the “State of Palestine.” Palestine is not a state and never has been. . . . Israel, [moreover], is not a state party to the court.

Beyond this narrow legal problem, important though it might be, lies a much broader one:

The ICC was not established to replace national judicial systems but to complement them—to act only where states themselves lack the capability or will to conduct their own investigations and prosecutions. Israel has a long-established and internationally respected legal system, with a record of investigating and bringing charges against those accused of war crimes, which renders the court’s process inadmissible.

As some of us foresaw from the start, the ICC has twisted itself into a political court rather than a serious legal body. Its notorious obsession with Israel is only part of the problem. Following accusations that the court was biased against African states, which led South Africa, Burundi, and Gambia to threaten withdrawal, the ICC has tried to deflect criticism by focusing on Western liberal democracies, alleging large-scale war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq by the U.S. and UK.

This makes the ICC an instrument of “lawfare,” intended to weaponize legal processes to deter or hamper law-abiding Western liberal democracies from fighting to defend themselves, and to undermine their core values.

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: ICC, International Law, Israeli Security, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism