The National Lawyers Guild – a member of IADL – is an endorser of the following statement. We urge members and supporters to also join the statement, open to signatures by lawyers, jurists, law students, legal workers, legal organizations, trainee lawyers and law academics, among others:
We, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers,1 invite you to join lawyers, jurists, Human Rights NGOs and Bar Associations from around the world in supporting this petition, which demands that the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor ‘immediately move forward to investigate and refer for prosecution by the International Criminal Court those violations of International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law committed by individuals acting or purporting to act on behalf of the State of Israel, which have occurred
and continue to occur within the jurisdiction of the Court.’
This petition is inspired by our previous international action begun in the 1980s, calling upon lawyers to support the campaign to free Nelson Mandela. We believe that this petition, just as the previous one proved to be for those living under Apartheid in South Africa, ‘is an essential first step in securing equal justice under law’ for the Palestinian people.2
We encourage lawyers, jurists, NGOs, Bar Associations, lawyers’ organisations, law firms and law school communities everywhere to sign the petition, either by signing below or by emailing us with a completed copy of the campaign form to email@example.com.
At a time when the rights of Palestinians are under a dramatically intensified attack,3 we believe that there has not been a more critical moment for lawyers the world over to call for the accountability of those who are responsible for subjecting Palestinian civilians to ‘the most serious crimes of international concern’. 4
International Lawyers’ Statement
To: Ms. Fatou Bom Bensouda, Office of The Prosecutor (OTP), the International Criminal Court
1. Mindful that ‘disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind’,i
2. Guided by the ‘Nürnberg Principles’ii and stressing in this regard the principle of individual criminal responsibility for international crimes, including war crimes and crimes against humanity,iii
3. Affirming that victims of gross violations of International Human Rights Law and serious violations of International Humanitarian Law have a right to a remedy and reparation,iv
4. Affirming ‘that the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole must not go unpunished and that their effective prosecution must be ensured’,v
5. Recalling that Israel continues illegally to occupy Palestinian territory seized since 1967, vi which has resulted in the longest ongoing belligerent occupation of a territory anywhere in the world, whilst also laying siege to the Gaza strip following the IDF’s “disengagement” in 2005, vii
6. Denouncing the unimaginable atrocities that have been committed and continue to be committed by Israel against Palestinian civilians which deeply shock the conscience of humanity,
7. Recalling the countless resolutions from the UN General Assembly, UN Security Council and the Human Rights Council denouncing such violations by the State of Israel,viii
8. Recalling further that, notwithstanding numerous reports submitted by Palestinian and international NGOs to the OTP, war crimes and crimes against humanity have continued on an aggravated basis throughout the period of preliminary examination by the OTP, ix
9. Denouncing the failure and refusal by the State of Israel to hold accountable any of those suspected of committing crimes against Palestinian civilians, resulting in abandoning the rule of law and replacing it with widespread impunity for Israeli officials who have sanctioned, and for Israeli individuals who have perpetrated, such crimes. Impunity contributes to the continuation, intensification and recurrence of such crimes,x
10. Recalling Palestine’s accession to the Rome Statute and its acceptance of ICC jurisdiction over crimes committed in the OPT since 13 June 2014,xi following its recognition as a state by the international community,xii
11. Recalling the opening of a preliminary examination by the OTP on 16 January 2015 into the situation in Palestine,xiii and the overwhelming evidence supplied by Palestinian and international NGOs, concerning ‘past, ongoing and future crimes within the court’s jurisdiction, committed in all parts of the territory of the State of the Palestine’,xiv
12. Recalling the ICC’s obligations to undertake effective prosecutions and apply and interpret law in a manner ‘consistent with internationally recognised human rights’,xv and in this regard highlighting the right of Palestinian victims to a prompt investigation,xviincluding not only the OTP’s preliminary examinations, but moving further to conduct full investigations and initiate prosecutions where appropriate,
13. I Declare that justice delayed is justice denied, and Demand the OTP immediately move forward to investigate and refer for prosecution by the International Criminal Court those gross violations of International Human Rights Law and serious violations of International Humanitarian Law committed by individuals acting or purporting to act on behalf of the State of Israel, which have occurred and continue to occur within the jurisdiction of the Court.
To sign on to the statement, add your name and/or the name of your organization to the letter by using our online form at the IADL website: http://iadllaw.org/2018/09/international-lawyers-campaign-for-the-investigation-and-prosecution-of-the-crimes-committed-against-the-palestinian-people/#signon
If you have difficulties with the form or prefer to email, please complete the campaign form and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.