UK notes opposition to ICC probe into alleged Israeli war crimes – The Jerusalem Post

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has voiced opposition to the International Criminal Court’s probe into allegations of war crimes carried out by Israel in Gaza, the West Bank and east Jerusalem. The prime minister made Downing Street’s position clear on The Hague tribunal’s probe in a letter to the Conservative Friends of Israel, who met with the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Friday to discuss the ICC’s decision to open a full war crimes probe against Israel and the Hamas terrorist group in the Gaza Strip. After noting the UK’s strong support of the ICC and the recent election of two UK nationals into its ranks – one of whom will become the ICC’s lead prosecutor come June – Johnson said that his office outwardly opposes the ICC’s investigation but it continues “to respect the independence of the institutions.” He claimed that the UK has been working with other countries at the ground level to “bring about positive change at the Court.” “We oppose the ICC’s investigation into war crimes in Palestine,” Johnson said in the letter. “We do not accept that the ICC has jurisdiction in this instance, given that Israel is not a party to the Statute of Rome and Palestine is not a sovereign state.” “This investigation gives the impression of being a partial and prejudicial attack on a friend and ally of the UK’s,” he added.

Respected British attorney Karim Khan will be taking the place of current ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda starting in June, and will be tasked with the decision of how to proceed with the investigation into the allegations of war crimes in “Palestine” and Israel’s claims opposing The Hague tribunal’s jurisdiction on the matter. Bensouda announced on Wednesday of last week that she is opening the full war crimes probe against Israel and Hamas, after five years of deliberation. For Israel, such war crimes suits could target Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, defense ministers and any other high-level officials involved in such activity since June 13, 2014. Soldiers and commanders could also be targeted. “In the end, our central concern must be for the victims of crimes, both Palestinian and Israeli, arising from the long cycle of violence and insecurity that has caused deep suffering and despair on all sides,” Bensouda added. “My office will take the same principled, non-partisan approach that it has adopted in all situations over which its jurisdiction is seized.” Netanyahu called the decision to investigate Israel “undiluted antisemitism and the height of hypocrisy.” The Palestinian Authority said that it welcomed the decision to open a war crimes investigation. Hamas also welcomed the decision, though it will also be in the ICC’s crosshairs. The probe is expected to cover the 2014 Gaza War, the 2018 Gaza border crisis and the Israeli settlement enterprise as well as Hamas rocket attacks against Israeli civilians. Lahav Harkov and Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.

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UK notes opposition to ICC probe into alleged Israeli war crimes – The Jerusalem Post

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