Benjamin Netanyahu’s ICC case faces UK-induced legal hurdles

Benjamin Netanyahu's ICC case faces UK-induced legal hurdles
credit: amnesty

London (Parliament News) – An intervention by the UK administration at the international criminal court is anticipated to delay a conclusion over whether a detention warrant can be allocated against the Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, for alleged war offences in Gaza.

Judges at the ICC judged on Thursday they would permit the UK to make legal arguments in the case as they evaluate whether to approve requests pushed by the ICC’s chief prosecutor for warrants against Netanyahu and his defence minister, Yoav Gallant.

Can the UK Influence ICC’s Ruling on Netanyahu Warrants?

According to court documents, after the prosecutor made the demands the UK argued that the judges attending the case must address “outstanding” queries about the ICC’s jurisdiction over Israeli citizens before determining whether to issue the warrants. The decision to permit the UK to submit ideas in the case has caused anxiety among some international law specialists that Britain’s intervention is politically motivated and an endeavour to reopen legal issues many claims have previously been settled.

In February 2021, a board of ICC judges issued a ruling affirming the ICC had jurisdiction in the occupied Palestinian territories. The decision earned the way for the ICC’s previous chief prosecutor to extend a criminal investigation into alleged horrors in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

How Will UK’s Legal Arguments Affect Netanyahu’s Case?

However, last month the UK government suggested an ICC pre-trial chamber the 2021 ruling “did not determine” jurisdictional matters relating to the Oslo Accords, the interim peace accords signed between the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Israel in the 1990s. UK government lawyers claimed the judges have to thus “make an initial determination” over whether the ICC can exert jurisdiction over Israeli citizens “in cases where Palestine cannot exert criminal jurisdiction over Israeli nationals according to the Oslo accords”.

The arguments submitted by the UK echo claims made by current and retired senior Israeli officials questioned by the Guardian in recent months. One senior Israeli official urged that “the jurisdictional problems are not resolved” as Palestine “doesn’t have the powers to charge [jurisdiction] to the court”. Experts expressed the decision to allow the UK to intercede on this issue could cause holds to the arrest warrants case, though a former ICC official acquainted with the 2021 case said the jurisdictional problems had been resolved and, if challenged, would be “dead on arrival”.

According to Mark Kersten, an ICC professional and criminal justice professor at the University of the Fraser Valley in Canada, “it would beggar belief” if the judges determined that Palestine, an ICC member state, “could not request the court to address atrocities perpetrated on its territories because of a moribund Oslo peace process”.

Danya Chaikel, the International Federation for Human Rights’ representative to the ICC, stated the UK’s endeavour to challenge ICC jurisdiction utilising the Oslo Accords was “deeply disturbing and unjust”. She stated the UK appeared to be “prioritising diplomatic connections over accountability for international offences” and that its endeavour to challenge the ICC’s jurisdiction also failed “to handle Israel’s noncompliance with the Oslo accords, especially concerning settlement growths in the West Bank”.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.