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Human Rights / The Rights Forum calls for broad protest against passive ICC

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The International Criminal Court must open an investigation into possible war crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories without further delay. This demand will be hand-delivered to the ICC on December 10th on behalf of a coalition of organizations.

A large crater marks the location where two tin shacks used to stand. On November 14 they were wiped away by Israeli bombs. Nine members of the same family were killed, including five children.Ashraf Amra 

December 10th is Human Rights Day. It is also the date on which former Dutch prime minister Dries van Agt founded The Rights Forum, exactly a decade ago this year. Building on this tradition, this year on December 10th The Rights Forum will present a letter, which can be found at the bottom of this article, to Ms. Fatou Bensouda, chief prosecutor of the ICC. Our letter has a clear message: Ms. Bensouda, open an official and full-scale investigation into the ‘situation in Palestine’ without further delay.

Background

The ICC has been engaged in a preliminary investigation into the situation in Palestine for almost five years, aiming to establish if criteria are met for an official, full-scale investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The investigation should have led to a conclusion long ago.

The delay is not only inexplicable, it is also irresponsible. Absent an official investigation, Israel has been allowed to continue carrying out crimes with impunity. Most recently, on November 14th, over thirty Palestinians were killed in Gaza, many of them as a result of indiscriminate Israeli bombings. Among those killed were nine members of the same family, including five children. No wonder that – by stalling an official investigation – the ICC is in breach with its own mission, which it describes as follows:

The Court is participating in a global fight to end impunity, and through international criminal justice, the Court aims to hold those responsible accountable for their crimes and to help prevent these crimes from happening again.

The stalling of the ICC-investigation fits into a wider practice of inexplicable delays. A database of companies involved in Israel’s illegal colonization was mandated by the UN in March 2016, but has not been published to date. A similar database of companies involved with the Myanmar military regime was completed within a year and issued last September.

It seems obvious that holding Israel accountable for its crimes against the Palestinians requires a loud voice. Over the last years many organizations have called on the ICC to take action, notably in September 2018, when a coalition of 25 organizations urged Ms. Bensouda to finalize the preliminary investigation. None of these calls bore fruit. That is why The Rights Forum has now taken the initiative to build a coalition that cannot be ignored.

 

APPEAL FOR ACTION

 

International Criminal Court

To the attention of Ms. Fatou Bensouda, chief prosecutor

Oude Waalsdorperweg 10, The Hague, The Netherlands

Amsterdam, December 10th, 2019

 

Dear Ms. Bensouda,

Today, on Human Rights Day, the signatories of this letter call on you to open an official, full-scale investigation into the ‘situation in Palestine’ without further delay.

Since January 2015 the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been engaged in a preliminary investigation into the ‘situation in Palestine’, focusing on possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Unfortunately, almost five years into the investigation, you have yet to reach a conclusion. This delay is inexplicable.

It is also irresponsible. As the preliminary investigation drags on, the crimes continue. The Israeli colonization of occupied lands – a war crime under the Rome Statute – comes with the systemic violation and abuse of the human rights of millions of Palestinians. The Israeli occupation continues to take Palestinian lives.

Concerning Gaza, you yourself have stated that the Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians could amount to war crimes, as could be the case for the violent activities of Palestinian groups. Nevertheless, we still witness Palestinian civilians being killed or wounded on a weekly basis.

The absence of an official investigation, this much is clear, has fueled the already existing culture of impunity. But it also affects the integrity and credibility of the ICC, and thereby the confidence of the public in a functioning legal order.

Over the last years, many have called on you to finalize the preliminary investigation. Among them human rights organizations, a broad civil delegation from Palestine, and Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki. In September 2018, 25 international organizations urged you to act. You did not respond.

That is why we repeat their call today, on Human Rights Day: Ms. Bensouda, open an official and full-scale investigation into the ‘situation in Palestine’ without further delay.

On behalf of 203 signatory organizations,

Yours sincerely,
THE RIGHTS FORUM

Germany (34)

AK PALÄSTINA TÜBINGEN
ARBEITERFOTOGRAFIE, BUNDESVERBAND
ARBEITSKREIS NAHOST – BERLIN
ARBEITSKREIS NAHOST – BREMEN
ARBEITSKREIS PALÄSTINA IM NÜRNBERGER EVANGELISCHEN FORUM FÜR DEN FRIEDEN
ATTAC ARBEITSGRUPPE GLOBALISIERUNG UND KRIEG
BDS BERLIN
BDS-GRUPPE BONN
BONNER NAKBA60-GRUPPE
BÜNDNIS FÜR GERECHTIGKEIT ZWISCHEN ISRAELIS UND PALÄSTINENSER
DEUTSCHER KOORDINATIONSKREIS PALÄSTINE ISRAEL
DEUTSCHES NETZWERK EAPPI
DEUTSCH-PALÄSTINENSISCHE GESELLSCHAFT
DEUTSCH-PALÄSTINENSISCHE MEDIZINISCHE GESELLSCHAFT
DEUTSCH-PALÄSTINENSISCHER FRAUENVEREIN
EUROPÄISCHE ALLIANZ ZUR VERTEIDIGUNG DER PALÄSTINENSISCHEN GEFANGENEN
FLÜCHTLINGSKINDER IM LIBANON
FRAUENNETZWERKNAHOST
FREUNDE VON SABEEL DEUTSCHLAND
INTERNATIONALER VERSÖHNUNGSBUND IVB, DEUTSCHER ZWEIG
IPPNW
ISRAELI COMMITTEE AGAINST HOUSE DEMOLITIONS (ICAHD) – GERMANY
JEWISH VOICE FOR PEACE GERMANY
JÜDISCH-PALÄSTINENSISCHE DIALOG-GRUPPE – MÜNCHEN
PALÄSTINA FORUM – MÜNCHEN
PALÄSTINA FORUM NAHOST – FRANKFURT
PALÄSTINA/NAHOST-INITIATIVE HEIDELBERG
PALESTINE SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE – STUTTGART
PAX CHRISTI, DEUTSCHE SEKTION
PAX CHRISTI, DIÖZESANVERBAND AUGSBURG
PCG – PALESTINIAN COMMUNITY GERMANY
SALAMSHALOM ARBEITSKREIS ISRAEL-PALÄSTINA – MÜNCHEN
SOLIDARITÄT INTERNATIONAL
WELTFRIEDENSDIENST E.V.

Palestine (29)

ADDAMEER PRISONER SUPPORT AND HUMAN RIGHTS ASSOCIATION
AL HAQ ORGANIZATION – DEFENDING HUMAN RIGHTS
AL MEZAN CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
ALDAMEER ASSOCIATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
APPLIED RESEARCH INSTITUTE – JERUSALEM
BADIL – RESOURCE CENTER FOR PALESTINIAN RESIDENCY AND REFUGEE RIGHTS
COALITION FOR JERUSALEM
COUNCIL OF PALESTINIAN POLITICAL FORCES
DCI – DEFENSE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL – PALESTINE
FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT TRADE UNIONS
GENERAL UNION OF PALESTINIAN TEACHERS
GENERAL UNION OF PALESTINIAN WOMEN
GENERAL UNION OF PALESTINIAN WORKERS
GLOBAL PALESTINE RIGHT OF RETURN COALITION
GRASSROOTS PALESTINIAN ANTI-APARTHEID WALL CAMPAIGN (STOP THE WALL)
HURRYYAT – CENTER FOR DEFENSE OF LIBERTIES AND CIVIL RIGHTS
JLAC – JERUSALEM LEGAL AID AND HUMAN RIGHTS CENTER
PACBI – PALESTINIAN CAMPAIGN FOR THE ACADEMIC AND CULTURAL BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL
PALESTINIAN ASSOCIATIONS OF FARMERS UNION
PALESTINIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS COUNCIL
PALESTINIAN NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF NGOS
PALESTINIAN UNION OF POSTAL, IT AND TELECOMMUNICATION WORKERS
PCHR – PALESTINIAN CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
PNGO – PALESTINIAN NGO NETWORK
PSCC – POPULAR STRUGGLE COORDINATION COMMITTEE
RAMALLAH CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS STUDIES
THE INDEPENDENT COMMISSION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
UNION OF PALESTINIAN CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS
WOMEN CAMPAIGN TO BOYCOTT ISRAELI PRODUCTS

United States (26)

AL-AWDA, THE PALESTINE RIGHT TO RETURN COALITION
ALLIANCE FOR WATER JUSTICE IN PALESTINE
ARAB JEWISH PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
BAY AREA WOMEN IN BLACK
BRYN MAWR PEACE COALITION
CAMBRIDGE BETHLEHEM PEOPLE TO PEOPLE PROJECT
ELDERS RISING
GREEN MOUNTAIN SOLIDARITY WITH PALESTINE
HILTON HEAD FOR PEACE
INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT – NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
JEWS FOR PALESTINIAN RIGHT OF RETURN
LABOR FOR PALESTINE
NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE
PALESTINE SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE – SEATTLE
RACHEL CORRIE FOUNDATION FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE
ROOTSACTION.ORG
SEAMAC – SEATTLE MIDEAST AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
STUDENTS FOR JUSTICE IN PALESTINE AT ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY
UNITED FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE
US BOATS TO GAZA
US CAMPAIGN FOR THE ACADEMIC AND CULTURAL BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL
UTAHNS FOR A JUST PEACE IN THE HOLY LAND
VETERANS FOR PEACE – CHAPTER #113 – HAWAII
VETERANS FOR PEACE – CHAPTER #35 – SPOKANE
WASHINGTON ADVOCATES FOR PALESTINIAN RIGHTS
WESPAC FOUNDATION

Netherlands (24)

ARTICLE 1 COLLECTIVE
CDA MEMBERSHIP COUNCIL MIDDLE-EAST
DOCP
DOOPSGEZIND WERELDWERK WERKGROEP MIDDEN OOSTEN
DUTCH SUPPORT GROUP OF THE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT
EEN ANDER JOODS GELUID
EUROPEAN LEGAL SUPPORT CENTER
GATE48 – CRITICAL ISRAELIS IN THE NETHERLANDS
HAAGS VREDESPLATFORM
KAIROS-SABEEL NEDERLAND
NEDERLANDS PALESTINA KOMITEE
NUHANOVIC FOUNDATION: CENTRE FOR WAR REPARATIONS
PALESTINA WERKGROEP ENSCHEDE
PALESTINE LINK
RELIGIONS FOR PEACE NETHERLANDS
STAAT VAN BELEG
STICHTING GRONINGEN-JABALYA
STICHTING HUMANISTISCH VREDESBERAAD
STICHTING VRIJ OOST TIMOR
STOP DE BEZETTING
THE RIGHTS FORUM
UNION OF THE PALESTINIAN DEMOCRATS – HOLLAND
VD AMOK
VREDESBEWEGING PAIS (DUTCH SECTION OF WAR RESISTERS INTERNATIONAL)

Australia (14)

AJPP – AUSTRALIANS FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE IN PALESTINE
APPA – AUSTRALIAN PALESTINIAN PROFESSIONALS ASSOCIATION
AUSTRALIA PALESTINE ADVOCACY NETWORK
AUSTRALIAN MANUFACTURING WORKERS UNION
AUSTRALIANS FOR PALESTINE
BDS AUSTRALIA
CJPP – COALITION FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE IN PALESTINE – AUSTRALIA
FREE GAZA – AUSTRALIA
FRIENDS OF SABEEL – AUSTRALIA
PALESTINE ISRAEL ECUMENICAL NETWORK – AUSTRALIA
PAX CHRISTI AUSTRALIA
QUAKER PEACE AND LEGISLATION COMMITTEE
VICTORIA REGIONAL MEETING OF QUAKERS
WOMEN FOR PALESTINE

France (13)

ASSOCIATION FRANCE PALESTINE SOLIDARITÉ
CANVA – CONSTRUIRE ET ALERTER PAR LA NON VIOLENCE ACTIVE
CAPJPO EUROPALESTINE
CJACP – COLLECTIF JUDÉO ARABE ET CITOYEN POUR LA PALESTINE
GAIC – GROUPE D’AMITIÉ ISLAMO CHRÉTIENNE
LE MOUVEMENT INTERNATIONAL DE LA RÉCONCILIATION – BRANCHE FRANÇAISE
LIGUE DES DROITS DE L’HOMME
MÉDECINS DU MONDE – FRANCE
MOUVEMENT POUR UNE ALTERNATIVE NON-VIOLENTE (MAN)
MRAP – MOUVEMENT CONTRE LE RACISME ET POUR L’AMITIÉ ENTRE LES PEUPLES
ONE JUSTICE
PAX CHRISTI FRANCE
PLATEFORME DES ONG FRANÇAISES POUR LA PALESTINE

Canada (10)

CANADA PALESTINE ASSOCIATION
CANADIAN BDS COALITION
CANADIAN BOAT TO GAZA
CANADIAN UNITARIANS FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE
COALITION AGAINST ISRAELI APARTHEID VICTORIA
INDEPENDENT JEWISH VOICES CANADA
JUST PEACE ADVOCATES
PAJU – PALESTINIAN AND JEWISH UNITY
PALESTINE JUST TRADE
SOLIDARITY WITH PALESTINE – ST. JOHN’S

Belgium (9)

ASSOCIATION BELGO-PALESTINIENNE – WALLONIE/BRUXELLES
BELGIAN CAMPAIGN FOR THE ACADEMIC AND CULTURAL BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL
BROEDERLIJK DELEN
EAJS – EEN ANDERE JOODSE STEM / ANOTHER JEWISH VOICE
GENTS ACTIEPLATFORM PALESTINA
PALESTINA SOLIDARITEIT
PLATE-FORME CHARLEROI-PALESTINE
VLAAMS-SOCIALISTISCHE BEWEGING
VREDE WVZW

United Kingdom (9)

BRADFORD PALESTINE SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN GROUP YORKSHIRE
EDINBURGH ACTION FOR PALESTINE
EUROPAL FORUM
FACILITATE GLOBAL
JEWS FOR JUSTICE FOR PALESTINIANS
NORTHAMPTONSHIRE PALESTINE SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN
OC4P – OBAN CONCERN FOR PALESTINE
PALESTINE SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN
SCOTTISH FRIENDS OF PALESTINE

India (4)

FOOD SOVEREIGNTY ALLIANCE
INDIAN CAMPAIGN FOR ACADEMIC AND CULTURAL BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL
NATIONAL DALIT CHRISTIAN WATCH
PALESTINE SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE OF INDIA

International Organizations (4)

GLOBAL WOMEN COALITION FOR AL QUDS AND PALESTINE
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF DEMOCRATIC LAWYERS
SAMIDOUN PALESTINIAN PRISONER SOLIDARITY NETWORK
WORLD BEYOND WAR

Malaysia (4)

BDS MALAYSIA
MALAYSIAN WOMEN COALITION FOR AL QUDS AND PALESTINE
ROSE2ROSE
VIVA PALESTINA MALAYSIA

European organizations (2)

UNION OF EUROPE-PALESTINIAN YOUTH
UNION OF PALESTINIAN COMMUNITIES AND ORGANIZATIONS

Finland (2)

FINNISH-ARAB FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY
ICAHD FINLAND

Israel (2)

BOYCOTT FROM WITHIN – ISRAELI CITIZENS FOR BDS
DE-COLONIZER

New Zealand (2)

KIA ORA GAZA
PALESTINE SOLIDARITY NETWORK AOTEAROA

Nicaragua (2)

ÁBACOenRed
FUPECG – FUNDACIÓN PEDAGÓGICA COOPERACIÓN GENUINA

Norway (2)

SHIP TO GAZA NORWAY
THE ASSOCIATION OF NORWEGIAN NGOS FOR PALESTINE

Switzerland (2)

BDS SWITZERLAND
COLLECTIF URGENCE PALESTINE – VAUD

Other (8)

AIDOUN LEBANON
BDS JAPAN
COMMITTEE FOR A JUST PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST (Luxemburg)
GIBANJE ZA PRAVICE PALESTINCEV (Slovenia)
NEW WEAPONS RESEARCH GROUP ONLUS (Italy)
RUMBO A GAZA (Spain)
SLOVAK INITIATIVE FOR A JUST PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST (Slovakia)
WOMEN IN BLACK – VIENNA (Austria)