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NGO updates complaint to Met Police on UK ministers' complicity in Israel war crimes

May 22, 2024 at 9:04 pm

A pro-Palestine protester holds a placard which states “End UK complicity in Zionist war crimes” during the demonstration in Piccadilly Circus, London on 18 May 2024 [Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images]

An NGO has submitted a complaint to the United Kingdom’s Scotland Yard against Israel’s use of “starvation as a weapon of war” and targeting of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, in what is the latest such complaint regarding war crimes in Gaza to be reported to British police.

According to the London-based International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP), it submitted a complaint to Scotland Yard’s War Crimes Team regarding Israel’s suspected use of “starvation as a method of warfare” and for ‘wilfully causing great suffering’ to Palestinians.

Although filed in the UK, both crimes are illegal under British and international law, including under the Rome Statute and the International Criminal Court Act 2001. Using starvation as a weapon of war also violates the Geneva Convention, a major keystone of contemporary international law.

The 60-page complaint – which was added to by a further 800 pages of evidence – includes accounts collected by ICJP’s investigation and legal teams, which include former British police detectives who collected the evidence to the standards of British police forces.

READ: Boris Johnson accused of obstructing investigations into war crimes in Gaza

The evidence reportedly includes that collected from first-hand eyewitnesses, expert reports and expert evidence from nineteen medical professionals who have worked within the besieged Gaza Strip since October, when Israel began its ongoing offensive.

According to ICJP’s Director, Tayab Ali, “Complicity comes in many forms, whether that be providing political cover, encouraging criminal acts, supplying weapons or, as in the case of starvation, withholding funds from agencies that provide life sustaining humanitarian aid”.

The extensive complaint notably builds upon and expands an existing complaint issued by the ICJP back in January this year, which named four British government ministers for alleged complicity and criminal responsibility in Israeli war crimes. This latest update, however, further implicates a fifth senior government minister as an alleged perpetrator of those crimes.

Due to the war crimes’ illegality under British law and subsequent ability to be prosecuted in the UK, Scotland Yard’s War Crimes Investigation Team will now reportedly consider the complaints leading up to an ultimate decision on whether to open a formal criminal investigation on the matter. If that proceeds, there is the possibility that police will then question, arrest, and prosecute the alleged perpetrators and those complicit.