While the International Criminal Court (ICC) has proved itself unable or unwilling to weigh in on the Chinese government’s brutal persecution of the Uighurs, Bashar al-Assad’s bloody war against his own people, or the depredations of Islamic State, it last week ruled that its authority extends to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The Scottish journalist Stephen Daisley observes:
This is judicial activism on a global scale and the UK should oppose it—and loudly—for two reasons. For one, there is the principle that a body created by a treaty should not claim powers which that treaty does not grant it. The Rome Statute does not empower the ICC to prosecute non-party states, except where such states “accept the exercise of jurisdiction by the court.”
Instead the Rome Statute gives the court jurisdiction where “the state on the territory of which the conduct in question occurred” is a “party to this statute,” but Israel has not ratified the statute and the Palestinian Authority, which acceded in 2015, is not a state. If the UK is for international law, it should be against this lawless behavior.
No doubt the court yearns to see an end to the [Israel-Palestinian] conflict, as do we all, but its apparent attempt to jump-start that process is as knuckle-headed as Barack Obama’s “daylight” strategy towards Israel or Downing Street’s endless scolding over settlements. . . . It is for the Palestinians to claim their own sovereignty at the negotiating table.
An ICC vendetta against Israel will not achieve dignity, prosperity, and self-determination for the Palestinians. It will only promote the suspicion that the ICC imperils national sovereignty in pursuit of political ends.