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  • Israel’s High Court just made an ICC investigation more likely

    The court’s rejection of a lawsuit challenging the shooting of protesters in Gaza is a reminder that the Israeli legal system simply isn’t set up to investigate the policy makers and policies that result in alleged war crimes.  Israel’s High Court of Justice may have just inadvertently increased the possibility that senior Israeli officials might themselves show up on the docket of the International Criminal Court one day. [tmwinpost] Last Thursday night, the court rejected a legal challenge that sought to strike down the Israeli army’s policy of shooting unarmed protesters in the Gaza Strip. Six Israeli and Palestinian human…

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  • Leading Israeli rights group to stop cooperating with the IDF

    The Israeli military justice system acts only to 'cover up unlawful acts and protect perpetrators,' B'Tselem says, citing 25 years of experience working with the military. Palestinian rights expert welcomes the move. Israel’s best known human rights organization, B’Tselem, has lost all faith in the Israeli military justice system and will stop cooperating with it on behalf of Palestinian victims, the organization announced Wednesday. A quarter century of experience working with the army “has brought us to the realization that there is no longer any point in pursuing justice and defending human rights by working with a system whose real function is…

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  • Illegal settlements aren't rogue, they're government policy

    Consecutive Israeli governments have fabricated a sophisticated system designed to lend a guise of legality to the seizure of land in the West Bank. By Adam Aloni A month ago, with nearly no public debate, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu retroactively approved an urban building plan (UBP) for the West Bank settlement of Itamar. A week later, on October 29, Netanyahu retroactively approved UBPs for another three settlements: Shvut Rachel, Sansana and Yaqir. Once again Israeli authorities “laundered” construction in the West Bank that even they deemed illegal for years. Contrary to attempts in the media to represent this move as…

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  • Palestinian groups present 'war crimes' evidence to the ICC

    The International Criminal Court prosecutor is conducting a 'preliminary examination' into the 2014 Gaza war. But are Israeli officials at higher risk of prosecution for illegally building settlements in the West Bank? Four Palestinian human rights organizations submitted research, testimonies and documentation to International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Monday, which they said contain evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israelis during the 2014 Gaza war. The four Palestinian human rights organizations, Al-Haq, Al-Mezan, Aldameer and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), said the information they handed over to Bensouda on Monday detailed “illustrative instances” of…

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  • Lessons from the UN Gaza report: Next stop, ICC?

    The Human Rights Council's independent inquiry is full of suspicions of war crimes. More important is what it has to say about how Israel investigates those allegations, and what that means for the International Criminal Court. To the relief of Israel and the chagrin of many others, the UN report into last summer’s war in Gaza is not an indictment of Israel. It does not declare conclusively that Israel committed war crimes and it is certainly not one-sided. The Human Rights Council report released on Monday is valuable, nevertheless, when read as a preview of what might transpire in a…

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  • No indictment in killing of four Palestinian kids on Gaza beach

    Israeli army prosecutor decides not to open a criminal probe into a widely reported-on air strike against four children playing on a Gaza City beach during last year's war. The MAG says it will, however, investigate the shelling of a medical clinic 'in honor' a fallen soldier. The Israeli military will not seek any indictments over the killing of four Palestinian children on the beach in Gaza last summer, the Military Advocate General announced on Thursday. The four children were killed in a July 16 airstrike that targeted them while they played on a Gaza beach adjacent to where a sizable…

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  • How ICC membership could revive Palestinian statehood at the UN

    Could a shift in U.S.-Israeli relations lay the groundwork for bolder legal and diplomatic moves in the international arena against Israel and the occupation? By Lolita Brayman Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s election success is being portrayed by some as a victory for the international aspects of the Palestinian cause. For months, Palestinians have been trying to leverage Europe’s frustration with Israeli actions and now the United States might be having second thoughts about wielding its almighty UN Security Council veto. There is a global consensus for a two-state solution today. So when Netanyahu publicly abandoned his commitment to negotiating the…

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  • Palestinian 'lawfare': Toward brinksmanship or progress?

    Palestine’s accession to the International Criminal Court is an official declaration of lawfare, a new battleground in the conflict with Israel; settlements will be the thorniest legal issue in the courtroom (if it ever gets there). By Lolita Brayman Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ signing of the Rome Statute is a game changer for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Following the disappointment of the UN Security Council’s (UNSC) vote on a resolution to end Israeli occupation – a two year plan to establish a sovereign Palestinian state and end the conflict – the Palestinians turned to other international bodies for diplomatic relief. Acceding…

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  • Palestine's ICC bid is only as threatening as Israel makes it

    Instead of reviling Palestinian accession to the International Criminal Court as an effort to delegitimize and isolate it, Israel would be better off focusing inward. By Emily Schaeffer Omer-Man One of the more ironic aspects of Israeli opposition to Palestinian accession to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is its deep involvement in the court’s establishment. Not long before Israel joined the ranks of the U.S. and Sudan in “unsigning” the statute, it was one of its chief proponents and architects. In signing the treaty in 2000, Israel professed its support for the court, despite its concerns about…

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  • Leading Israeli human rights group stops cooperating with IDF in Gaza probes

    In a move that could strengthen the case for international investigation of alleged Israeli war crimes, B'Tselem says it will no longer share its current Gaza case files with the country's Military Advocate General. Human rights watchdog declares that Israel is unable and unwilling to investigate alleged war crimes committed by its own soldiers. Citing "severe structural flaws" in the Israeli military's internal investigation mechanisms and a history of dismissing criminal allegations against military personnel, leading Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem announced on Sunday that it would not comply with a military request to share details of its independent investigations into alleged Israeli abuses…

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  • How Israel increases its odds of international prosecution

    When the criminal records of IDF war criminals are expunged, the government puts them in danger of being tried abroad. By Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz Last week Yesh Din published a new report,"Lacuna: War Crimes in Israeli Law and Court Martial Rulings." It deals with the way the military justice system handles offenses that are in effect war crimes. One of the issues discussed is the criminal records of soldiers convicted of offenses of this kind. In 2011 the Knesset enacted Amendment No. 61 of the Military Justice Act. It's pretty complicated, but can be summed up by…

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  • What Palestinian statehood means for ICC jurisdiction over Israeli crimes

    The Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN has Israel especially worried about one implication from the move - Israeli conduct on Palestinian territory becoming subject to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. By Noam Wiener Tomorrow is November 29, a day that in my childhood memories is associated with a static recording reading: “Afghanistan, no; Argentina, abstain; Australia, yes” and with black and white photos of people dancing in circles in the streets of Tel Aviv following the approval of the Partition Plan for Palestine.  But children today will have a different memory. Obviously many Israeli opinion makers…

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