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Friday, January 01, 2010

'International Criminal Court' to claim jurisdiction over Goldstone Report?

The Israel Bar Association held a session on Thursday on the Goldstone Report and many of the speakers present believe that Israel will eventually find itself before the International Criminal Court over the blood libels contained in that report.
Daniel Reisner, former head of the IDF's international section, said that in the past he had not been concerned that the International Criminal Court (ICC) would accept a Palestinian complaint against Israel because the Palestinians did not represent a state. However, during the past year ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has not ruled out the possibility of investigating a Palestinian Authority complaint against Israel after reversing his own previous opinion that he was not authorized to do so.

"Suddenly, the ICC has turned into a potential threat," warned Reisner, who was one of the architects of Israel's policy not to have the military police investigate IDF soldiers suspected of involvement in the deaths of Palestinian civilians, a policy that has been in force since the beginning of the intifada in 2000. "If that happens, it will be a turning point in Israel's position in the world."

Earlier, Major-General Avihai Mandelblitt, the military advocate-general, told the audience of lawyers that he did not see a threat from the United Nations, even though the General Assembly is due in five weeks to hear a report on the progress Israel has made in investigating the war crime allegations included in the Goldstone Report.

Mandelblitt said that the army has investigated all of these incidents and will publish its findings soon. However, the Goldstone Committee has insisted that the investigations must not be carried out by the army.

Nevertheless, Mandelblitt said he believed that as Israel published its findings, pressure from the UN would decline.
Read the whole thing. There's been talk this week about the government setting up an independent commission to investigate the allegations once the army publishes its report. It would be chaired by former Supreme Court Chief Justice Aharon Barak. I'd be more comfortable with that idea if it were chaired by his predecessor, Meir Shamgar.

If there is no commission, you can expect that the 'Palestinians' and their allies will attempt to force us into the ICC, even though we never signed the Rome Treaty. If there is such a commission, it will make it much more difficult to justify dragging Israel into the court, even if at the end of the day the commission concludes no war crimes have been committed. But the precedent set by such a commission - which could lead to new commissions each time a terror master manages to get some civilians killed alongside him - would not allow the IDF to function normally.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration has taken a short-sighted approach, with a lot of talk about the US joining the ICC.

Brigadier General Avichai Mandelblit, mentioned above, believes that the Goldstone Report is aimed at Western countries fighting terror and not at Israel.
In his opening remarks, Mandelblitt charged that the true purpose of the Goldstone Report was not to attack Israel, "but against all countries fighting terrorism."

"The report is not aimed at Israel," he said. "It is aimed at the West, at any country fighting terrorism. It is meant to tie their hands and cause them to lose the wars."

This, he continued, was the main reason he opposed Goldstone's demand to conduct an independent investigation of the charges. He said that by refusing to comply, Israel was defending the West's war against terrorism.
He's mostly wrong about that. Israel is clearly the target this time, although the United States would likely be a target in the future. And while Israel may believe it is (and probably is) defending the West's war against terrorism, the current occupant of the White House doesn't believe there's a war on terror to be defended any more, and isn't going to give us any credit for defending it.

What could go wrong?


At 9:43 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel may be the first target of the jihadists' lawfare but it won't be the last.

What could go wrong indeed


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