The Russia-Ukraine War and Its Legal and Political Implications

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Amb. Alan Baker - The bitter hostilities between Russia and Ukraine are accompanied by widely reported instances of indiscriminate targeting by the Russian military forces of civilians and civilian centers as well as nuclear power plants, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, and the use of weapons outlawed by international law. On March 2, 2022, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, announced that the Court had received referrals by 39 state parties to the ICC Statute, including Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, calling upon the Court to open an investigation against the Russian political and military leadership with regard to war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine. Palestinian spokespeople are expressing considerable concern and indignation that the international community is immersed in the legal proceedings regarding the Russia-Ukraine war, rather than pursuing Israel. Such Palestinian lamentations are misplaced, misleading, and manipulative. The Palestinian attempt to compare or equate the Palestinian issue with the open warfare, the massive bombardment of civilian population centers, and the waves of refugees in the Russia-Ukraine conflict is patently flawed and presumptuous. No equation can, or should be made, between these horrors and the legally questionable Palestinian complaints to the Court. In fact, it is widely acknowledged that the Palestinian referrals to the Court do not stem from any genuine or substantive concern for human rights. They are part of the Palestinian political struggle to manipulate the international judicial organs within the international community to target and delegitimize Israel. Israel expends considerable efforts to ensure that its actions to defend itself from Palestinian terror attacks accord with all international norms and relevant conventions. It does not engage in the mass bombardment of civilians, the use of illegal weaponry, or the starvation of the civilian population. The writer, former legal counsel to Israel's foreign ministry, heads the international law program at the Jerusalem Center.

2022-03-14 00:00:00

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