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Lawfare & Impunity

In 1998 the Rome Statute was signed at a conference that gave birth to the International Criminal Court. The body has since begun legal proceedings against any violators of international law and the accepted rules of war, however the court's jurisdiction extends only to states which voluntarily signed the stature. Israel, the US, China, Russia, and many of the major violators never have. In December 2014 the Palestinian Authority attempted to recieve approval from the UN Security Council to join the court but due to pressure from the US and Israel, the Council refused, allowing Israeli and Palestinian crimes at conflict to continue with impunity.
Int'l Court Rejects Palestinian Statehood Bid 


On Tuesday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced it has finally reached a decision to reject the the Palestinian request to join. If it were accepted it would not only give the Palestinian Authority (PA) the possibility of inviting the ICC to prosecute Israelis or Palestinians accused of war crimes, Genocide, or crimes against humanity, but would have also forced the ICC to establish whether the Palestinian territories constitute a state. In 2009, shortly after the PA filed this request, following the Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip in Operation Cast Lead, The Real News spoke to Fatou Bensouda, the Deputy Prosecutor of the ICC about the case. - April 6, 2012

The Int'l Effort to Criminalize War 


At the end of August prosecutors from international tribunals such as those in Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, and the Fmr. Yugoslavia met in Jamestown, NY for the 2010 International Humanitarian Law Dialogues. The discussion this year focused on the June review conference of the International Criminal Court in Kampala, Uganda. The conference has been long awaited since the establishment of the court in 1998. The main issue was the definition of the crime of aggression. - Sept 19, 2010

UN Praises Israel For War Investigations


The UN Goldstone report, published nearly a year ago, found evidence that Israel as well as HAMAS committed war crimes in the recent war on Gaza. The report mandated UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to publish his assessment of the progress of both parties in their internal investigations. Though the Palestinian Authority (PA) and HAMAS progress is not yet public, the Israeli is. Ki-Moon praised Israel for setting up an independent commission to look into the Flotilla incident of May 31st because it will also attempt to answer whether Israel's internal investigation methods even conform to international law. Ki-Moon also praised Israel and noted that it has committed extensive resources to conducting a thorough and independent investigation, a conclusion that could get Israel off the hook in the international law arena. - Aug 23, 2010

The fight against Israeli "impunity" 


This week, the European Union's Parliament passed a resolution endorsing the implementation of the recommendations of the Goldstone Report, which investigated war crimes in the attack on Gaza last year. While the motion was received with support from many NGOs, such as the Women's Peace Coalition, it did not indicate specific actions the EU will actually take. The same has been true for the UN's process as members of the Security Council said they would veto the report. Many are therefore taking it in their own hands to hold Israeli leaders accountable for alleged war crimes. The legal tool they're using is called universal jurisdiction and refers to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 that said countries must be able to prosecute anyone who commits grave crimes. - March 12, 2010

Russell tribunal says sanction Israel 


This week the Russell Tribunal on Palestine ruled in Barcelona, Spain on six questions concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Tribunal's judgements are not judicially binding but are meant to examine the complicity of the European Union in perpetuating what the Tribunal called Israel's "policy of war, occupation, and colonization for 60 years." The jurists were assembled from around the globe and issued their conclusions on Wednesday, March 3rd. Among the conclusions, the jury stipulated that Israel practices a form of apartheid. The Real News' Lia Tarachansky attended the Barcelona session and spoke to jurists and participants.- March 8, 2010

The Goldstone Report returns


The three-month deadline the United Nations General Assembly gave Israel and the Palestinians to begin investigations into allegations of war crimes in last year's attack expired last week. Now, the Secretary-General was expected to issue his conclusions regarding sending the Goldstone's recommendations for implementation by the UN Security Council. Because the five-member organization has indicated it will not pursue it further and the investigations the Israelis and Palestinians conducted were "inadequate," and "disappointing" The Real News' Lia Tarachansky asks what alternatives exist. - Feb 12, 2010

Prosecuting Israel for war crimes 


Fatou Bensouda, the Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) speaks about the Palestinian Authority's appeal to join the group of nations over which the court has jurisdiction. Bensouda says that before the ICC can investigate the perpetration of war crimes during Israel's 2008/9 attack on Gaza, the court would have to rule on whether it has jurisdiction in the Palestinian Territories. For that, there would have to be clear borders identified, a task the UN would have to take on. - Sept 4, 2009

Israel Only Listens to its Own 


Dion Nissenbaum, Jerusalem bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers speaks about the accusation that Israel committed war crimes in its 2009 attack on Gaza. He says, "I'm not sure what impact this UN report is going to have." He continues to explain, "I think the only thing that the Israeli government will look at is reports from Israeli soldiers. Israel has always been skeptical of the United Nations, the international press, and they are certainly skeptical of what comes out of the Palestinians. - March 31, 2009

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