Tuesday, January 26, 2016

  • Tuesday, January 26, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon

From the Arab Organization of Human Rights (UK):
Arab Organisation for Human Rights In the UK (AOHR UK) on Monday 25/01/2016 submitted two communications to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) inviting the Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute both the deliberate infiltration of seawater into the territory of Gaza by Egyptian forces, and the closure of the Rafah crossing during Operation Protective Edge and the months that followed the hostilities.

The AOHR is of the opinion that both acts are constitutive of war crimes and crimes against humanity and are therefore acts under the subject-matter jurisdiction of the ICC.

The ICC also enjoys temporal and territorial jurisdiction over the crimes exposed in both communications because the State of Palestine acceded the Rome Statute in January 2015 and issued a declaration under article 12(3) of the Statute accepting the Court’s jurisdiction since 13th June 2014.

With these filings, the AOHR seeks to put an end to the oppressive and criminal policy of the Egyptian authorities at the border and hold those responsible accountable before an international court.
The subtext of these filings is that Egypt is legally at war with Gaza:

Toby Cadman, International Criminal Law expert and head of legal team advising AOHR, notes, the Egyptian policy in the border constitutes “a clear violation of the laws of war and shows evident criminal features”. He added that the International Criminal Court should analyse the situations presented in both communications and demonstrate that there are criminal methods to cause great suffering and serious injuries in entire populations that, nevertheless, do not require the use of guns and tanks. Mr. Cadman argues that “the conditions of life derived from the Egyptian policy in the Rafah border constitutes per se a violent action that affects the entire Strip in a widespread manner. It demonstrates that the heinousness of a crime does not depend on the size of an Army, or on the length of hostilities, but on the cruelty of the policy behind the actions and the party’s desire to capitalize on its position of superiority and the vulnerability of a defenceless region”.
The point of the communications isn't so much to win - I don't see how that is possible - but to pressure Egypt to change its policies both towards Gaza and towards its own people:
A future ICC investigation on these two topics would have extraordinarily positive consequences.

First, it could serve to loosen what are effectively siege conditions in Gaza, and consequently, change the lives of the 1.8 million citizens of Gaza, who have been suffering a years-long humanitarian crisis. As a matter of fact, the UN has predicted that Gaza won’t be a habitable place by 2020, and the closure and flooding of the border only exacerbates this tragic situation and accelerates the process of destruction.

Second, an investigation from the ICC would bring the long-awaited accountability to Egyptian authorities, which have proven to be immune from prosecution in their own jurisdiction despite the serious and widespread nature of the human rights violations committed in Egyptian territory.
The irony is that the entire point of the PA accepting the Rome Statute was to be able to prosecute Israel, but the AOHR is using it to attack a fellow Arab country.



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