The world cheered the decision by the International Criminal Court to issue a warrant of arrest for Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan over allegations of crimes against humanity and war crimes in connection with the ongoing conflict in Darfur. The warrant lists 7 criminal counts based on the Rome Statute. These are:
1. Murder (Article 7(1)(a));
2. Extermination (Article 7(1)(b));
3. Forcible Transfer (Article 7(1)(d));
4. Torture (Article 7(1)(f));
5. Rape (Article 7(1)(g));
6. Directing attacks against civilians (Article 8(2)(e)(i)); and,
7. Pillaging (Article 8(2)(e)(v)).
I always believed that what the Sudanese government and its sponsored militias were doing in Sudan is a crime against the people of Darfur. I always felt for those unfortunate civilians who were attacked, and whose homes were destroyed, villages torched down, women raped.
One of the argument Zionists and supporters always used to suppress any case or argument against Israel, was the referral to the human rights situation in Sudan, asking the rhetorical question “why is Israel always blamed while other countries can do as they wish?”
Well, I guess the ICCs decision clears the way in response to this question. So The Court’s decision to issue a warrant for the arrest of a president while in office, is a precedent. The Court, however, believes that the Rome Statute does not provide any exemption or immunity based on official capacity.
So, maybe now the Court can turn its eye to another part of the Middle East where clear violations of the Rome Statute have been committed. Israeli leaders current and past can be tried for a hell more crimes than those seven. I will try here to list my counts:
1. Article 7/1/a- Murder: There are numerous cases of murder committed by the Israeli army. The consecutive chiefs of staff, ministers of defence, and prime ministers are liable for prosecution under this article based on their direct and indirect responsibility of coordinating, designing, leading and promoting the events that led to such cases, as well as their hierarchical control of the “apparatus” of the State of Israel that implemented this crime.
2. Article 7/1/b Extermination: (as per 7/2/b) “the intentional infliction of conditions of life, inter alia the deprivation of access to food and medicine, calculated to bring about the destruction of part of a population.” The responsibility of Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barack and the Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, in particular for the siege of Gaza and the prevention of urgently needed medical supplies, food and electricity which lead to over 300 deaths among Palestinians requiring medical attention.
3. Article 7/1/d Deportation or forcible transfer of population: Several cases of this crime have been committed and documented. The most notable of which are the two massive waves of transfer of population in 1948 and 1967. Currently, the Israeli Government is not fulfilling its obligations to stop the Settlers Militia from enforcing such transfers. The village of Yanoun in the centre of the West Bank is one example of forced transfer. Tana village, with supreme court support is due for demolition by the State of Israel.
4. Article 7/1/e Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law: There are over 10,000 prisoners in Israeli Prisons. Many of them sit there on Administrative Detention which is renewed endlessly. Many others are serving absurdly high sentences reaching for some over 1200 years (yes, one thousand two hundred years).
5. Article 7/1/f Torture: Israeli Supreme Court (of Justice?) has made several rulings allowing the Shin Bet to exercise torture against Palestinian prisoners. The Shin Bet is the Government’s National Security Agency, it falls under the authority of the Prime Minister
6. Article 7/1/h Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court.
7. Article 7/1/j The crime of apartheid: (As per 7/2/h) ‘The crime of apartheid’ means inhumane acts of a character similar to those [mentioned above], committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.
8. Article 7/1/k Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.
9. Article 8/2/a/i Wilful Killing. Several documented cases of wilful killing can be raised under this article. Many of those gained international fame such as the case of the assassination of Salah Shehada.
10. Article 8/2/a/ii Torture and Inhumane treatment. Several documented cases most notably the actions of Israeli army on roadblocks across the West Bank.
11. Article 8/2/a/iii Wilfully causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or health;
12. Article 8/2/a/ iv Extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly. Many such cases exist. In the early fifties Israel transferred the ownership of millions of dunnums of land to the KKL/JNF. These lands were owned by Palestinian refugees, by the transfer Israel ensured that these lands will only be used by Jews as KKL regulations forbid selling property to non-Jews.
13. Article 8/2/a/vi Wilfully depriving a prisoner of war or other protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial;
14. Article 8/2/a/vii Unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement;
15. Article 8/2/b/i Intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities;
16. Article 8/2/b/i Intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects, that is, objects which are not military objectives;
17. Article 8/2/b/iii Intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in a humanitarian assistance or peacekeeping mission in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, as long as they are entitled to the protection given to civilians or civilian objects under the international law of armed conflict;
18. Article 8/2/b/iv Intentionally launching an attack in the knowledge that such attack will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects or widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment which would be clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated;
19. Article 8/2/b/v Attacking or bombarding, by whatever means, towns, villages, dwellings or buildings which are undefended and which are not military objectives;
20. Article 8/2/b/viii The transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory;
21. Article 8/2/b/ix Intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not military objectives;
22. Article 8/2/b/xvi Pillaging a town or place, even when taken by assault;
23. Article 8/2/b/xix Employing bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body, such as bullets with a hard envelope which does not entirely cover the core or is pierced with incisions;
24. Article 8/2/b/xx Employing weapons, projectiles and material and methods of warfare which are of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering or which are inherently indiscriminate in violation of the international law of armed conflict, provided that such weapons, projectiles and material and methods of warfare are the subject of a comprehensive prohibition and are included in an annex to this Statute, by an amendment in accordance with the relevant provisions set forth in articles 121 and 123;
25. Article 8/2/b/xxi Committing outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;
26. Article 8/2/b/xxiii Utilizing the presence of a civilian or other protected person to render certain points, areas or military forces immune from military operations;
27. Article 8/2/b/xxiv Intentionally directing attacks against buildings, material, medical units and transport, and personnel using the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions in conformity with international law;
28. Article 8/2/b/xxv Intentionally using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare by depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival, including wilfully impeding relief supplies as provided for under the Geneva Conventions;
So Twenty eight counts. Of course these have been committed by various Israeli politicians since the establishment of the state, but I am sure current politicians have a criminal responsibility over many of these. The only problem we have is that no one will file a case on behalf of the Palestinians. The double standards that plague international organisations will necessarily mean that the ICC prosecutor will not file a case on his own as he did in the case of AlBashir.
I am sure with some research all of these crimes can be documented and presented as a complete case. Maybe, just maybe, at one point we would be able to launch such a suit.