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Europe, Israel and the International Criminal Court – POLITICO

However, unlike the United States, members of the ICC have a legal obligation under the Rome Statute to assist in the execution of any arrest warrant. And yet, while EU High Representative Josep Borrell sentenced “any kind of intimidation against the International Criminal Court”, early reports suggest that some European allies – although they support the ICC’s investigations in Ukraine – may be working behind the scenes to generate diplomatic opposition to any arrest warrant against Israel.

So what has changed?

Not the law. Nor the need to hold those responsible for serious crimes accountable. It seems rather that it is the actors and the policies that are different. Russia is an adversary of the West – Israel an ally.

There are many good questions to ask about the ICC’s upcoming decisions: their impact on tenuous peace negotiations, the need to ensure crimes against Israeli and Palestinian victims are addressed, the merits of issuing warrants shutdowns that are unlikely to be executed anytime soon. , and the opportunity for Israel to demonstrate that, contrary to past practice, its domestic justice system is capable – and willing – of holding senior leaders to account. But what the world will not accept is impunity for the massacres.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, members of the US Congress and US President Joe Biden’s administration applauded the ICC for issuing an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on war crimes charges. | Phil Nijhuis/ANP/AFP via Getty Image

There is a political cost to appearing to choose where the law applies – the difficulty Western leaders face in mobilizing global support for their righteous campaign to sanction Russia for its crimes in Ukraine in is the proof. Accusations of hypocrisy are nothing new. But failing to support the ICC in Israel and Palestine will be seen by many as a cynical and self-serving sacrifice of fundamental principles of justice.

In a world of increasing diversity and multipolarity, a position of moral abdication with regard to the ICC will find diplomatic resonance for many years.

In 2002, the last surviving Nuremberg prosecutor, Benjamin Ferencz, who died last year, deplored that Washington had made a terrible moral and political error by refusing to join the ICC: “What the United States says is is that we don’t do it. want the rule of law. I think it’s dangerous, very dangerous. Because we cannot impose a law on the United States and not on the rest of the world. It doesn’t fly. Judge Jackson made this clear at Nuremberg. The law must apply to everyone equally, otherwise it is no law at all,” he said.

His words ring true today.


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