Israeli Law Firm Wants the ICC to Investigate the PA and Hamas
This according to a bizarre — and bizarrely inaccurate — article in the Jerusalem Post. How many errors can you find?
An Israeli law firm on Thursday formally announced its request to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensada, to open a criminal investigation into violations by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and nine members of Hamas for war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression.
After years of public threats by the PA to file such a request or case against Israeli soldiers and political leaders, an Israeli lawyer, Mordechai Tzivin, was the first to strike, filing a complaint and request for an investigation.
The request is unprecedented not only because it involves the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and is against “Palestine” as a state and its leaders such as Abbas and nine Hamas members, but also because it is filed by an individual law firm as opposed to by a state.
Generally speaking, the ICC can only hear cases filed by states.
However, as the Tzivin wrote in his request to Bensada, the ICC prosecutor has a little known and almost entirely unused power to essentially self-open an investigation and self-file an indictment against individuals for international law violations.
The power, referred to as the prosecutor’s “propio motu” power, is generally not used by the prosecutor because it requires special approvals from the ICC itself and leaves the prosecutor’s office exposed for using an extraordinary measure not requested by any state.
Asked whether he had coordinated his move with Israeli officials, Tzivin said he had spoken with top legal officials in all of the key ministries as well as a top official in the security establishment.
Despite Israel’s official position that there is still no state of Palestine, Tzivin said that he was either told that he had their blessing or that at least no one told him to hold back.
Here’s my count: (1) the ICC does not yet have jurisdiction over the crime of aggression; (2) there is nothing remotely unprecedented about a private individual asking the Court to investigate a situation; (3) it is not true that, “generally speaking,” the Court can hear only cases brought by states; and (4) the Prosecutor’s proprio motu power is not remotely “almost entirely unused” (Kenya, Cote D’Ivoire?).
Did I miss any?