Israel – our greatest ally in the Middle East – is taking fire from all sides. At the ACLJ, we’re aggressively fighting back with a multipronged legal strategy to defend Israel’s right to defend its citizens against an onslaught of terror.
Through our international affiliate with consultative status at the United Nations (U.N.), the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), we have just submitted an amicus curiae brief to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to stand with Israel against false war crimes prosecutions attempted to be initiated against Israel for merely defending its citizens. Our submission argues that that the ICC Prosecutor’s prior decision not to start an investigation against Israel was proper and reasonable.
On May 31, 2010, Israel Defense Force (IDF) commandos boarded and captured the Mavi Marmara and other ships part of a Gaza bound “Freedom Flotilla.” A Turkish organization, Humanitarian Relief Foundation (commonly referred to by the initials IHH), organized the flotilla with the stated purpose of breaching Israel’s legal naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.
After the Mavi Marmara, a Union of Comoros flagged ship carrying Turkish passengers, disregarded multiple warnings that the vessel was approaching the Israeli naval blockade, Israeli commandos boarded the ship. Ten people on board were killed after terrorists on board that vessel attacked the Israeli soldiers while they were being lowered down on the ship by a helicopter.
The Comoros, a Member State of the ICC, filed an application with the Prosecutor’s office alleging that Israeli forces had committed war crimes. After a review of the facts and law, the Prosecutor decided not to start an investigation because the alleged crimes were not of sufficient gravity to warrant an investigation.
The Comoros appealed the Prosecutor’s decision not to investigate, and the Pre-Trial Chamber agreed with The Comoros’ flawed legal analysis. Applying an ambiguous standard of review and legally flawed analysis, the Pre-Trial Chamber requested the Prosecutor to reconsider her decision, holding that the Prosecutor erred in her decision not to investigate.
In our amicus brief submitted to the Appeals Chamber of the ICC, we have argued that the Prosecutor’s decision was reasonable given the facts and well within the bounds of her discretion.
Additionally, we have argued that the ICC does not have jurisdiction over Israel or Israeli forces at all because Israel is not a party to the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the ICC. A treaty (an agreement between two more States), by its very nature, binds only parties that agree to be bound by its terms. Under customary international law, the terms of a treaty cannot be forced on non-parties. This is a basic principle of international law. As such, we have argued that the Rome Statute does not bind Israel and cannot be applied against Israel. Yet, it appears that the politics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have influenced the Pre-Trial Chamber’s decision.
Our brief urges the Appeals Chamber to review and decide this critical case appropriately, according to the applicable law, not anti-Israel bias.
This is just one of a number of legal filings that we are undertaking in defense of Israel. I’ve successfully presented oral argument before the ICC’s Chief Prosecutor in the past, legally defending Israel against similar anti-Israel lawfare, and we’re ready to do so again.
We will not stand by as our ally is undermined on the world stage. The stakes couldn’t be higher.
Update 8.14.2015: The International Criminal Court has just notified us that it has decided to hold all amicus briefs until it accepts the Prosecutor's appeal. We stand ready to file a critical amicus brief in defense of Israel at that time.
We've successfully defended Israel at the ICC from terrorists' legal attacks before. Help us do so again. Have your gift doubled today. Have your gift doubled through our Matching Challenge.
Israel has been pushed to the brink of war. Already this week, more than 300 deadly rockets and mortar shells have rained down on Israel, reportedly launched by Islamic jihadists like the terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. According to the Israel Defense Forces, more than 300...
Israel is under attack. Another 30 new deadly jihadist rockets were just fired on Israel, reportedly launched from the Gaza Strip. On Friday night militants in Gaza fired at least 30 rockets towards Israel. The Israeli military responded with air strikes on what it said were more than 80 military...
The anti-Israel U.N. is at it again, siding with Palestinian demands, undermining the U.S., and undercutting the peace process in the Middle East. Despite its continued violent attacks and threats against our ally Israel, the United Nations just voted to further empower the terrorist-funding...
President Trump’s decision to defund the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is, of course, the right move from a legal perspective, but lest there be any confusion, it also is the just and empathetic response towards an organization that long has done a disservice to the very population...