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Conservative Friends of Israel urge UK to oppose ICC’s war crimes investigation

February 14, 2020 at 12:34 pm

The Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) has urged the UK government to directly oppose the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s decision to open an investigation into war crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Writing to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, senior CFI officials MP Stephen Crabb, Lord Pickles and Lord Polak, argue that “as a non-state actor the Palestinians do not meet the legal requirements of the Rome Statute”, according to a CFI press release.

In the letter, the Westminster lobby group acknowledges that “the ICC is an important institution that the UK should continue to support”, but then goes on to claim that “the Court does not have jurisdiction over the territories”.

“We would urge the UK Government to join our close allies the United States, Australia and Germany in publicly cautioning against the politization of the ICC,” CFI continued.

READ: Will the ICC actually hold Israel to account over war crimes?

“The Palestinian request for ICC intervention seeks to exploit the Court, involving it in alleged crimes that do not meet the legal requirements of the Rome Statute,” the CFI stated. “This undermines the Israeli-Palestinian peace process by incentivising the demonisation and vilification of each side.”

Another argument used by CFI is to suggest that the ICC probe into war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory could have implications for UK armed forces.

“An inquiry of this nature would also set a dangerous precedent that could lead to prosecutions against the brave men and women of our armed forces who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, initiated in the ICC by non-state actors,” the CFI letter states.

Today marks the deadline for the UK, and other governments, “to request leave to file a written observation to the ICC”, CFI notes, urging the UK to do so, and “raise important concerns about the ICC’s lack of jurisdiction over this matter and the dangerous precedent it would set”.

“The UK [should] stand with Israel against this dangerous probe.”