- The crime of genocide;
- Crimes against humanity;
- War crimes;
- The crime of aggression. (this has not yet been defined.)
The Rome Statute details the specific crimes that are applied. For genocide:
- Killing members of the group;
- Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
- Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
- Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
- Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
The first seven crimes against humanity:
- (a) Murder;
- (b) Extermination;
- (c) Enslavement;
- (d) Deportation or forcible transfer of population;
- (e) Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law;
- (f) Torture;
- (g) Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity;
War crimes include such obvious examples as:
- Wilful killing;
- Torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments;
- Wilfully causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or health;
- Extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly;
- Compelling a prisoner of war or other protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile Power;
- Wilfully depriving a prisoner of war or other protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial;
- Unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement;
- Taking of hostages.
- Intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities;
- Intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects, that is, objects which are not military objectives;
- 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;
- 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;
- Attacking or bombarding, by whatever means, towns, villages, dwellings or buildings which are undefended and which are not military objectives;
- Killing or wounding a combatant who, having laid down his arms or having no longer means of defence, has surrendered at discretion;
You can see a pattern - the worst most heinous war crimes are listed.
But among all these terrible crimes that are spelled out explicitly by the Rome Statute is this one:
- The transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.
Keen eyed observers will note that this is a huge amplification of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which stated "The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies." By adding "directly or indirectly" it is obvious that the Rome Statute has changed what was originally intended to put a stop to the WWII practice of states actively moving part of their unwilling population into a territory, and instead it was designed for one reason only: to explicitly call Jews moving to their ancestral lands a war crime.
There is no better example of a sui generis law than this.
How did the idea of Jews voluntarily moving to almost completely empty spaces and building houses turn into a war crime on the par of torture or taking hostages? How could the writers of the Statute allow, as far as I can tell, this to be the only part that is not mentioned explicitly by the Geneva Conventions?
It all started in 1999, when the Rome Statute was being drafted. On August 10, 1999, a group of Arab nations -Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen - drafted this text to be added to the Statute:
The perpetrator, directly or indirectly:Given the source, it is quite obvious that this was meant to create an international law that would only be used against Israel....when the time was right.
(a) Induced, facilitated, participated or helped in any manner in the transfer of civilian population of the Occupying Power into the territory it occupies.
The US fought against it and proposed its own wording that would limit it to real war crimes:
1. That the act took place in the course of a military occupation with respect to territory where authority of a hostile army was actually established and exercised.The US is clearly interpreting the Fourth Geneva Convention Article 49 according to its original written intent, not the joke interpretation that Israel-haters have been using that has now gained currency.
2. That the accused intended to effect the compulsory transfer, on a large scale, of parts of the population of the Occupying Power into such occupied territory.
3. That the accused effected such transfer of nationals of the Occupying Power into such occupied territory.
4. That the accused intended that such transfer would endanger the separate identity of the local population in such occupied territory.
5. That the transfer worsened the economic situation of the local population and endangered their separate identity.
6. That the transfer was without, and the accused knew it was without, lawful justification or excuse.
Being a committee, the US text was rejected and the Arab text was watered down, with the result being the wording we showed above.
The Geneva Convention definition was never tested in any international court as to whether it could apply to Israel and the disputed territories. The ICC's Rome Statute, however, has elevated what was clearly not the intent of Geneva into defining "Jews building houses" as a war crime.
The Arab countries that sponsored this change to Geneva couldn't directly prosecute Israel in the ICC, because it is not their right to do so. Only a state member of the ICC that is the victim of "war crimes" can do that.
Now when you fast forward to today, where Mahmoud Abbas is renewing his threats to go to the ICC, we see the culmination of a process that began in 1999 - during the Oslo process, when it appeared that there might be a Palestinian Arab state sooner rather than later. But even so, the moves by the PLO to get accepted as a state by the UN had this specific idea in mind.
Anyone looking at the situation today can see how the Arab initiative of 1999 was meant to play out eventually - a goal that is now in reach.
Their goal to destroy Israel is not meant to play out in months or years, but over decades. Western-style democracies think instead in terms of sound bites and election cycles, and they simply cannot think the way that Arabs do.
Over time, this proves to be a fatal shortcoming.