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On 5 February 2021, Pre Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC), in a majority decision, ruled that the ICC is permitted to exercise jurisdiction over events occurring in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and Gaza Strip, thus de facto “green lighting” the ICC Prosecutor’s investigation into allegations of war crimes in these areas.

One of the three Pre-Trial Chamber judges, Judge Péter Kovaćs from Hungary, published an extensive dissenting opinion which is highly critical of both the Prosecutor and his two colleagues, primarily on the issues of statehood and territory and wrote that the decision has “no legal basis in the Rome Statute, and even less so, in public international law“.

Following is ZF Chairman Paul Charney’s statement on the ruling, and below that is a list of resources and articles about the ruling.

Statement by ZF Chairman Paul Charney following the recent ICC ruling against Israel

7th February 2021

“The Zionist Federation of the UK and Ireland unequivocally condemns the decision by the International Criminal Court’s (ICC’s) pre-trial chamber to open an investigation into Israel in respect of alleged ‘war-crimes’. This decision is clearly politically driven and will serve no other purpose than to drive both sides even further apart and make the prospect of peace even more elusive.

Despite many of the world’s greatest bastions of democracy, including the US, Australia and Germany, voicing their opposition to such a probe, based on the irrefutable fact that Palestine is not yet a state in any meaningful sense and that Israel is not a signatory to the Rome Statute from which the ICC draws its power, the ICC has, with its decision, decided to act against international norms and its own mandate. Even the dissenting one of the three judges, Judge Kovácś, has said the decision has “no legal basis in the Rome Statute, and even less so, in public international law”.

Whilst the ICC adheres to its mandate and avoids investigating states such as China, Iran Russia and Syria because they are not signatories to the Rome Statute, it is a sad day for the ICC when it shows itself willing to bend its own rules and jurisdiction so that Israelis might be investigated. It is decisions such as this one by the ICC that help explain why its credibility has been repeatedly questioned over the years.|”


Resources and articles: (Just click highlighted links below)

  • The formal ICC ruling.
  • Judge Péter Kovács’ Partly Dissenting Opinion.
  • Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs – official statements.
  • The Israeli Embassy in the UK’s response to the ICC ruling, which links to the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s reaction. Read on Twitter and Facebook.
  • IDF statement on the ICC ruling on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Executive summary from the The International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists.
  • A short video by Natasha Hausdorff, a Barrister and a Director of Uk Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) which shines a spotlight on the politicisation of the ICC‘s ruling – view on Twitter or here.
  • Natasha Hausdorff’s article in the English Law Society’s Gazette.
  • The Hague Initiative for International Cooperation’s (Thinc.) Director Andrew Tucker’s analysis of the ICC decision, written primarily to help non-lawyers understand the legal aspects of the decision and its background.
  • ICC jurisdiction website, an initiative featuring the opinions of leading experts in international law from a number of countries.
  • Germany & Hungary join states opposing ICC probe of Israel – read on JPost.
  • Professor Alan Dershowitz on the ICC’s ruling. “All in all, the International Criminal Court decision on Palestine is a setback for a single standard of human rights. It is a victory for terrorism & an unwillingness to negotiate peace.”
  • A piece by Colonel Richard Kemp, former British Army Commander and current writer and speaker on international and military affairs.
  • Not unsurprisingly, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas welcome the ICC’s ruling.