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STATEMENT ON PALESTINE, THE ICC AND THE REQUEST OF THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF ISRAEL TO STOP FUNDING-SUPPORT FOR THE ICC

22.01.2015

“We got knowledge that the Foreign Affairs' Minister of Israel is calling on States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) that are friends of the State of Israel, like Australia, Canada and Germany, to stop funding the Hague-based Court. Doing so he reacted on the decision of Palestine to accede to the Rome Statute and to accept the Court’s jurisdiction since June 2014 as well as on the decision of Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Mrs. Fatou Bensouda, to open a preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine.

We are considering the request of the Foreign Affairs' Minister of Israel as unacceptable and wrong, because it is based on a number of false premises. Any state has the right to decide on his own about its relationship to the UN-System including the International Criminal Court. Therefore the international community as well as the State of Israel should be pleased that the authorities of Palestine have accepted to submit their own people and territory to the jurisdiction of the Court, hence allowing that criminal attacks against Israeli civilians may be deterred or, if committed, repressed by the ICC in case national Courts fail in bringing to justice the alleged perpetrators. With great interest we heard, that Israel is implicitly recognizing the ICC, asking for the prosecution of war crimes possibly committed by the Palestinian Leadership. But we do have serious concerns that Israel will not accept that the IR own military activities will be investigated at all. Such a position is difficult to accept as a preliminary examination by the ICC is not yet an investigation but a process of examining all available information, in any case the 's should be deleted in order to reach a fully informed determination on whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation pursuant to the criteria established by the Rome Statute. We call Israel to ratify the ICC to better protect the civilian population living within its national borders, given that these civilians are not protected against attacks committed by non-Palestinians. By adhering to the ICC, Palestinian authorities are now legally bound to prevent genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. This is a positive, not negative, step.

European Union member states, including Germany, have championed the cause of an independent Court aimed at preventing the repetition of crimes against humanity, war crimes, acts of genocide and the crime of aggression: These mass-atrocities brought death and desperation to an entire generation of the peoples of Europe and, in particular, to the victims of the Holocaust against the Jewish people.

Looking at the mass-atrocities committed today in Syria, seeing these most serious international crimes taking place at the borders of the State of Israel, Israel should welcome the fact that Palestine, like Jordan, accepted to be bound by the strict legal norms contained in the Rome Statute of the ICC.

We, as Members of the European Parliament, would like to see the State of Israel in the same group of nations that are ‘determined to put an end to impunity for the most serious crimes of concern to the International Community as a whole’, as affirmed by the Preamble of the Rome Statute. The fight against impunity is one of the essential preconditions and building-blocks for sustainable peace, with justice and under the Rule of Law, and we call on all Member States in the Rome Statute system to defend the integrity of the Rome Statute and to continue to provide the necessary funding and cooperation to the Hague-based Court in full respect with its independence.”

Barbara Lochbihler, MEP (Germany), Member of the Executive Committee of Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA)

Helmut Scholz, MEP (Germany), Chairperson, PGA Group in the European Parliament

Judith Sargentini, MEP (Netherlands), PGA Group in the European Parliament

Georgios Katrougalos, MEP (Greece), PGA Group in the European Parliament

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