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May 22, 2024

Daily Legal Current Affairs for PCS (J) Judiciary 22 May 24 : Arrest warrant against Netanyahu: ICC

Why in News ?  The ICC Prosecutor has recently asked for an arrest warrant against Netanyahu:

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has  requested arrest warrants against leaders of Hamas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel about the October 7, 2023 attacks and the war in Palestine.

Why arrest warrant ?

All five individuals have been charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes.

What are Crimes against humanity?

  • They include murder, extermination, torture, rape, sexual offences, persecution, and other inhumane acts intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to the body or to mental or physical health when committed as part of a widespread .

What are war crimes?

  • They include grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions in the context of armed conflict, and include wilful killing or torture of civilians or prisoners of war, extensive unlawful destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity, the taking of hostages.

What are power & role of ICC ?

  • The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an international tribunal established to address the most serious crimes of concern to the global community.

Power:

  • Investigate and prosecute: The ICC has the authority to investigate and prosecute individuals accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.
  • Issue arrest warrants and conduct trials: If enough evidence is found, the ICC can issue arrest warrants and hold trials for those accused.

Role:

End Impunity: The ICC’s primary function is to end impunity for perpetrators of these gravest crimes. By holding them accountable, it discourages future atrocities.

Complement national courts: The ICC acts as a court of last resort. It steps in when national courts are unable or unwilling to genuinely carry out investigations and prosecutions.

Promote justice for victims: The ICC plays a crucial role in bringing justice to victims of these horrific crimes. Trials can provide a sense of closure and accountability.

Deterrence: The possibility of ICC prosecution is meant to deter potential perpetrators from committing such crimes.

Are ICC decisions binding?

  • Palestine became the 123rd member of the Rome Treaty on April 1, 2015. In February 2021, the ICC decided that it could exercise jurisdiction over Palestine, including Gaza and the West Bank.
  • Israel is not a Party to the Rome Statute. However, the ICC does have jurisdiction over crimes committed by nationals of both State Parties and non-state Parties (such as Israel) on the territory of a State Party (such as Palestine).

 The ICC’s decisions are binding.

  • However, it relies on the cooperation of States for support, particularly for making arrests and transferring the arrested individuals to the ICC detention centre, for freezing assets, and enforcing sentences.
  • However, a panel of judges at the ICC must first decide on the Prosecutor’s application.
  • If the necessary standard for the arrest warrants is met (that there are “reasonable grounds to believe” that the person named has “committed a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court”), warrants will be issued.
  • All 124 State Parties would be under obligation to cooperate with the court, and to arrest and extradite these individuals to The Hague.
  • This would make international travel difficult for Netanyahu and Gallant in the future, including visits to Israel’s allies such as Germany and the United Kingdom, which are Parties to the Rome Statute.

Important points to note:

  • The ICC can’t prosecute nationals of non-member countries unless the UN Security Council refers the situation to them.
  • The ICC has faced criticism for its focus on African nations in its investigations.
  • Some powerful countries, including the US, China, and Russia, are not members of the ICC.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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