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Canada officials face threat of prosecution for complicity in Israel’s genocide in Gaza 

November 17, 2023 at 1:02 pm

People gather to attend a pro-Palestinian candlelight vigil demonstration organized by Health Workers Alliance outside Consulate General of Israel in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on November 9, 2023. [Mert Alper Dervış – Anadolu Agency]

The Canadian government is the latest to be issued with a notice of intention to seek prosecution of politicians for complicity in Israeli war crimes in Gaza. The notice was issued yesterday by the ICJP Legal Working Group for Canadian Accountability (ICJP LWGCA), an independent organisation of dedicated lawyers, academics and politicians, that seeks to use the rule of law to achieve justice and protect the rights of Palestinians.

The notice was issued to leading members of the Liberal government, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly, Minister of National Revenue Marie-Claude Bibeau and Minister of Justice (Attorney General) Arif Virani.

The notice warns that Canadian officials could face prosecution before the International Criminal Court (ICC) if evidence emerges that they have facilitated Israeli violations of international law. The ICC’s Rome Statute prohibits aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity. Israel has been accused by leading experts and UN officials of committing genocide in Gaza.

The legal initiative has received backing from numerous human rights, international law and foreign policy organisations.

Over 11,000 Palestinians have been killed by the Israelis in Gaza since the launch of its military offensive on 7 October. More children have been killed by the Israeli forces in three weeks of bombing than in all the conflicts over the past three years.

Read: Rights groups to sue Dutch government for ‘supporting’ Israel’s violations in Gaza

Israel stands accused of war crimes including disproportionate attacks on civilians, collective punishment through blockade of humanitarian aid, and forced displacement of 1.5 million people – indicative of ethnic cleansing.

Despite this, Canada, along with Israel’s major Western allies, has reaffirmed support for the apartheid state and refused to halt arms exports, stop recruitment of volunteers for the Israeli military, or prevent Canadian charities from funding projects that assist Israel’s armed forces.

The ICJP LWGCA is demanding Canada end complicity by calling for a ceasefire, cancelling arms deals with Israel, prosecuting recruiters and stopping charitable funds from reaching Israel’s military.

The legal coalition says it continues gathering evidence regarding Canadian officials and will pursue all options to ensure accountability for aiding war crimes before the ICC.

Canadian officials are the latest to be issued with a legal notice. ICJP recently submitted a notice of intention to prosecute UK politicians who aid and abet Israeli war crimes. The group is building an international legal case by gathering evidence of potential war crimes committed in Gaza.