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International Criminal Court prosecutor uses ‘double standards’ even as genocide is happening: Lawyer

January 7, 2024 at 2:38 pm

A pro-Palestinian demonstrator holds a sign that reads, Selective Justice is Injustice during a pro Palestine demonstration in front of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on October 18, 2023 in The Hague, Netherlands [Roger Anis/Getty Images]

A member of the legal team representing Gaza victims before the International Criminal Court has criticized ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan for applying “double standards” when it comes to war crimes committed by Israel, Anadolu Agency reports.

“One finds it difficult to understand why the Prosecutor remains silent in relation to the mass killing of Palestinians and the extensive destruction of civilian homes,” Triestino Mariniello, professor of Law at Liverpool John Moores University in the UK, wrote in an article on the Opinio Juris website.

He added: “While it took the Prosecutor only one year to identify concrete cases in the situation in Ukraine, he has not requested any warrants of arrest or summons in relation to Palestine and Israel in the two years and half since he was sworn in on 16 June 2021, inheriting an opened investigation into the situation in Palestine from his predecessor.”

“A few things suggest that the Palestine situation has not been a priority for Khan before October 2023. It seems that no ICC investigator has ever visited Israel or the Palestinian territory,” he argued.

READ: Understanding how the ICJ and ICC work

“The way in which the Prosecutor had approached the Palestine investigation appears to be in sharp contrast to the Ukraine situation,” said Mariniello.

He explained: “After the beginning of the Russian full-scale invasion (in February 2022), Khan undertook several visits to Ukraine, attended press conferences, opened the Court’s biggest field office, deployed 42 investigators, opened an online portal to collect evidence, and raised unprecedented amounts of funding from various states.”

On the displaced Gazans now in Egypt, Mariniello said: “During his visit to Egypt on 29 October, the Prosecutor did not meet with Palestinian victims displaced from Gaza. When Khan finally decided to talk with Palestinian victims on 2 December, the victims’ expectations immediately turned into disappointment.”

​​​​​​​“Despite the Prosecutor’s words on a potential investigation in relation to the denial of humanitarian relief to Gaza residents, his statements seem to place an emphasis on the investigation of non-state actors,” said the law scholar.

The case Mariniello is investigating dates back to 2021, far before the current conflict in Gaza took some 23,000 lives. However, many complaints of possible war crimes by Israel also predate that conflict.

READ: Gaza death toll from Israeli onslaught tops 22,800