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European Commission president accused of complicity in Israel’s war crimes at ICC

May 28, 2024 at 2:09 pm

President of European Commission Ursula Von Der Leyen and the Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni meet at an event during the migrant crisis in Lampedusa Island, Italy on September 17, 2023 [Valeria Ferraro – Anadolu Agency]

The Geneva International Peace Research Institute (GIPRI) has accused the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, of complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel against Palestinians in Gaza.

The complaint was filed by GIPRI against the European Commission head at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on 22 May.

The complaint, supported by various human rights groups and prominent scholars and experts in international criminal law, urges the ICC prosecutor to initiate investigations based on the information provided against von der Leyen.

“Reasonable grounds exist to believe that the unconditional support of the President of the European Commission to Israel – military, economic, diplomatic and political – has enabled war crimes and the ongoing genocide in Gaza,” the complaint read.

A former UN independent expert, Alfred de Zayas, published a personal statement stressing that von der Leyen, in her capacity as president of the Commission, had an effective role in accessing the military support provided by the European Union to the Israeli army.

He stated that von der Leyen did not impose economic and military sanctions on Israel, and made many statements containing information about providing diplomatic support to Israel.

Von der Leyen is facing criticism for adopting an “extreme pro-Israel position” and her unconditional support for Israel since October 2023.

She made a solidarity visit to Israel six days after Israel launched its violent attacks on Gaza, and expressed the European Union’s unconditional support for Tel Aviv. During her contacts with Israeli officials, von der Leyen did not mention the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza due to the targeting of civilians and infrastructure.

On  20 October, EU staff wrote a joint letter urging von der Leyen to call for a ceasefire and protect civilian lives rather than support Israel unconditionally.

In February, European Union foreign policy official Josep Borrell said: “With her visit to Israel in late 2023, von der Leyen represents only herself in terms of international politics, and has left a huge geopolitical cost for Europe.”

READ: Borrell confirms continued EU support for UNRWA