Is Israeli Concern over the ICC Premature?

(Times of Israel) Raphael Ahren - Alan Baker, a former legal adviser to Israel's Foreign Ministry, says that regardless of the ICC Prosecutor's personal leanings, following the preliminary examination with a full-fledged criminal investigation will not be easy. According to the rules of the Court, laid down in the Rome Statue, there is only a "reasonable basis to proceed" if several criteria are fulfilled. First, the ICC has to establish that it indeed has territorial and personal jurisdiction over what happened in Palestine. Some experts wonder how the prosecutor will determine who's a Palestinian citizen and where the state's borders are. Next, the ICC will have to check whether the people under suspicion of crimes have not already been investigated by their country's own legal system, and whether the alleged crimes are severe enough to occupy a court meant to look into "unimaginable atrocities that deeply shock the conscience of humanity." According to Baker, this means that Israeli leaders and generals have nothing to be afraid of. "It's a big bluff, a huge PR exercise" launched by Palestinians to give Israel some bad press, he opined. The court could take up Israel's building of settlements in the West Bank. The Rome Statue includes phrasing that was inserted at the behest of Egypt and Syria that was clearly intended to criminalize Israeli settlements. However, is the building of housing units in eastern Jerusalem an "unimaginable atrocity"? The ICC has so far not looked into similar cases such as Turkish settlements in Northern Cyprus.

2015-01-22 00:00:00

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