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Growing Clamour to Prosecute Israel for War Crimes

An appeal at the ICC to try the likes of Netanyahu and the “Butchers” of the IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) will at least give a fresh lease of life to the dying moral conscience of the “civilized world”

 Arshad Shaikh studies the growing calls from countries to bring Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICC) and face trial for the war crimes it has been and is committing in Palestine. Given the track record of the United Nations and the international community in making Israel play by the book, the possibility of Israeli political and military leadership facing a Nuremberg-like trial appears highly unlikely. Nevertheless, an appeal at the International Court of Justice (ICC) or holding a symbolic people’s court to try the likes of Netanyahu and the “Butchers” of the IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) will at least give a fresh lease of life to the dying moral conscience of the “civilized world”.

The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals held in the aftermath of World War II to prosecute prominent leaders of Nazi Germany for their role in war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other carnages committed during the Holocaust. The trials took place in the city of Nuremberg, Germany, from 1945 to 1946.

Photo: Visualizing Palestine
Photo: Visualizing Palestine

The Nuremberg Trials established important legal principles that laid the foundation of the United Nations and modern international criminal law. They sent a powerful message that even high-ranking officials could be held accountable for their actions during wartime, regardless of their position or rank. This principle remains a fundamental tenet of justice in today’s world. They reiterated the importance of human rights and served as a precedent for subsequent international criminal tribunals, such as the International Criminal Court (ICC).

What is happening in Gaza today is appalling and reprehensible. A cursory reading of the literature on war crimes by anybody who has followed the illegal Occupation of Palestine by Israel will conclude that Israel is the biggest unpunished perpetrator of war crimes in the Middle East.

However, what is the position of Israel in legal terms and as per international law? Can or will Israel ever be tried for its war crimes at the ICC? Do the UN, the US, and its allies have the spine to take on Israel? The answer may well decide their place in history.

Türkiye takes the lead
Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has taken the lead in the efforts to bring Israel to the International Court of Justice and prosecute it for war crimes. Talking to the media, the Turkish President said, “Netanyahu is no longer someone we can talk to, we have crossed him out. I said something in my speech at the Palestine Rally. I announced that we would support initiatives that would bring Israel’s human rights violations and war crimes to the International Criminal Court.

“Our relevant authorities, especially our Foreign Ministry, will carry out this work. Which Torah is he talking about? Don’t the Ten Commandments include ‘Thou shalt not kill’ as an order? The Israeli administration systematically usurps Palestinians’ homes, streets, workplaces, and living spaces. The occupation has become widespread after invaders who they call ‘settlers’ were placed into the homes of Palestinians. They want to justify the war crimes committed by the Israeli army with religious rhetoric.”

Mounting Pressure to Try Israel for War Crimes

    • The Nuremberg trials paved the way for the ICC and taught the world how to deal with war criminals.
    • Israel is committing war crimes in Israel but is being let off by the world.
    • There are a few countries like Türkiye and Oman who are openly calling out Israeli war crimes.
    • If the world can hunt and prosecute the Nazis and Saddam, why not Netanyahu and his gang of war criminals?

Meanwhile, Turkish Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç said Israel was obliged to protect Palestinian civilians “in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law.”

Referring to the latest UN resolution (demanding a humanitarian ceasefire), Tunç said, “Such resolutions approved by a large majority have been admitted as evidence in the International Court of Justice proceedings in the past. When Israel is eventually brought to the court for massacres of children and civilians, the U.N. General Assembly resolution will be referred to and all high-ranking Israeli officials ordering the massacres and other individuals responsible will be punished for blatant intent to commit crimes.”

Oman chips in
Oman is one of the few Arab countries to talk officially about Israeli war crimes. Omani Ministry of Foreign Affairs came down heavily against Israel. It issued a strong message via X (formerly Twitter) saying, (Oman condemns) “The continued massacres and war crimes committed by the Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinian people.”

Oman called for “the need for a real awakening of the international community based on its moral, legal, and humanitarian responsibilities.”

It demanded “an end to the apparent recklessness and arbitrariness by Israel and its violation of international laws and conventions and to request the International Criminal Court to form a court for war crimes committed against the Palestinian people in Gaza and to prosecute the war criminals (of Israel) for all the massacres that they have committed.”

This position by Oman is heartening and encouraging given the studied silence of its strong and influential GCC neighbors.

Irish MP calls out Israeli war crimes
Former Irish MP, Richard Boyd Barrett, while addressing his Parliament, boldly challenged Israel, blaming it for the slaughter of Palestinians. Barrett charged Israel for war crimes, saying, “I have a simple question for you. How many innocent Palestinian civilians – men women and children does Israel have to slaughter? How many war crimes does Israel have to commit? How much death and destruction does Israel have to visit on the people of Gaza and Palestine before you will call for and impose sanctions on the Israel and expel the Israeli ambassador from this country and call for the immediate referral of Israel to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and war crimes; because in front of the world by their own admission, Israel is committing war crimes, they have stated it publicly.”

Lacking political will
If we recall the global vilification and subsequent arrest and trial of Saddam Hussein, we see the narrative built by American spin-doctors about how Saddam Hussein was evil, he was the butcher of Baghdad who gassed Kurds, massacred civilians and even killed babies. He was a cruel barbarian who had to be eliminated. Very soon, the Iraqi leader personified evil in public opinion and people saw his hanging as the demand of justice.

Without going into the veracity of the claims about Saddam being the “Antichrist” and “Adolf Hitler”, his trial proves without any doubt that if there is political will, even some of the world’s powerful dictators can be brought to justice.

Will Netanyahu and his gang of barbarians be hunted and made to stand trial for their war crimes by America? If America believes in justice, it is well advised to follow its former President Barack Obama who said, “The arc of universe may bend toward justice, but it doesn’t bend on its own.”

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