Palestine rights groups file ICC suit against Israel


Three Palestinian human rights groups, Al Haq, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, filed a lawsuit Nov. 10 with the International Criminal Court (ICC) asking for an investigation into alleged crimes by Israel. The submission, which was made under Article 15 of the Rome Statute, accuses Israel of war crimes, genocide and incitement to genocide, in the context of the bombardment of the Gaza Strip. This submission follows mounting allegations of Israeli war crimes by international human rights groups, including the use of toxic white phosphorous on civilians and attacks on medical services.

The suit asks the Office of the Prosecutor to include crimes against humanity, including apartheid and genocide, in its ongoing investigation of the Palestinian territories. It is also asking that arrest warrants be issued for those responsible, including Israeli political and military figures such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Isaac Herzog and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. The filing delineates the impacts of the bombing campaign on civilian populations, citing forced displacement and denial of access to necessities, such as food, water, humanitarian aid, and electricity.

Emmanuel Daoud, the attorney who initiated the action, also filed a suit with the ICC against Russian leaders for war crimes against Ukrainians. Upon the new filing, he said: “There is no place for double standards in International Justice… Whether war crimes are committed in Ukraine or Palestine, the culprits should be held to account.”

In response, a spokesperson for Israel’s foreign ministry said: “Israel is also collecting evidence for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by Hamas during the Oct. 7 attack [on Israel] and afterwards, including the use of civilians as human shields [in Gaza].” Families of victims of the Oct. 7 attacks filed their own ICC complaint last week, accusing Hamas of war crimes and genocide. Attorney François Zimeray said: “Hamas terrorists do not deny the crimes committed, which they have amply documented and broadcast… [F]acts cannot therefore be disputed.”

From Jurist, Nov. 12. Used with permission.

Note: The groups that brought the suit welcomed the visit of ICC prosecutor, Karim AA Khan, KC, to the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt on Oct. 29. (Al-Haq) Israel continues to reject the authority of the International Criminal Court to investigate possible violations of international law in the occupied Palestinian territories.

See our last report on Israel’s escalation toward genocide.

Photo: Maan News Agency

  1. Gaza deadliest-ever conflict for UN personnel

    More than 100 employees of the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) have been killed in five weeks of Israeli bombardment and siege of the Gaza Strip. The conflict has been the deadliest ever for UN personnel, according to Secretary-General AntĂłnio Guterres. Palestinian health officials say the overall death toll in Gaza has now passed 11,000. Israel agreed Nov. 9 to start implementing “humanitarian pauses” in its bombardment, a move that aid organizations and human rights groups say falls short of calls for a ceasefire. Over 1.5 million people in Gaza have been displaced, out of the 2.3 million who live in the enclave, according to UN emergency aid coordination body OCHA.

    On Nov. 9, more than 50,000 people fled northern Gaza, where Israel’s ground invasion has essentially cut the enclave in two. The limited amount of aid entering Gaza through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt is mostly being distributed to people staying in UNRWA-run shelters in the south. There are shortages of food and water throughout the Gaza Strip, but the situation is particularly dire in the north, where people are struggling to find enough food and water to survive, according to OCHA. UN experts have warned that time is running out to “prevent genocide and humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza. (TNH)

  2. Gaza hospitals in danger amid Israeli ground assault

    The World Health Organization (WHO) lost contact Nov. 12 with Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest in Gaza, with the latest reports stating the hospital had been surrounded by Israeli tanks. The Palestinian Red Crescent also reported that another large hospital in the area, Al-Quds, has been surrounded by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), with hospital staff attempting to evacuate patients. (Jurist)

  3. War crime seen in Israel raid on Gaza hospital

    The United Nations Security Council approved a resolution Nov. 15 that calls for “urgent and extended” humanitarian pauses in Gaza. The US, United Kingdom and Russia abstained. The resolution passed with 12 votes in favor, and is the first Security Council resolution on the Israel-Palestine conflict since 2016. The resolution was of course rejected by Israel, and does not condemn the Hamas attacks of Oct. 7.

    The resolution came just as Israeli forces entered Al Shifa hospital in Gaza City—with hundreds of patients and doctors still inside. Israel called the raid a “targeted” operation, outside areas where patients are; staff say troops ransacked parts of the complex, including the emergency intake and surgery departments. Israel claimed the hospital was being used as a Hamas command center—which is denied by both Hamas and the hospital staff. (NewsHour, The Guardian, UN News, PRI)

    Human Rights Watch released a report on Nov. 14 saying that Israel is executing repeated and unlawful attacks on healthcare facilities, personnel and transport, and that these attacks should be investigated as war crimes. HRW also expressed concern about Israel cutting off access to electricity, water and humanitarian aid, saying the actions are “further destroying Gaza’s healthcare system.” The report urges Israel to end these attacks, and calls on the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory and International Criminal Court to open formal investigations. (Jurist)

    The UK House of Commons on Nov. 15 rejected an amendment calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, as 24 US congressional representatives advocated for one in a letter to the Biden administration. (Jurist)

    More than 500 US officials representing some 40 government agencies also sent a letter to President Biden protesting his support of Israel in its war on Gaza. The letter calls on the president to seek an immediate ceasefire and to push Israel to allow humanitarian aid into the territory. It is the latest of several protest letters from officials throughout the Biden administration, including three internal memos to Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken signed by dozens of State Department employees as well as an open letter signed by more than 1,000 employees of the US Agency for International Development. (NYT)

  4. Israel drops evacuation leaflets in southern Gaza

    The IDF dropped leaflets over the southern Gaza city of Khan Yunis Nov. 16, warning residents to get out—evidently signaling an expansion of invasion into the south of the Strip.

    Israel is meanwhile pressing its invasion in the north. The IDF announced that it discovered the body of one of the 240 hostages held by Hamas near Al Shifa hospital. It is unclear how she met her death. (NewsHour)

  5. Israeli march for ceasefire becomes free speech struggle

    The Tel Aviv Police Department on Nov. 16 agreed to allow a demonstration calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip to take place in Tel Aviv, after the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) petitioned the High Court of Justice requesting that it order the Israeli police to issue a permit for the rally.

    The protest, set for Saturday the 18th, is the first such event calling for a ceasefire to receive a permit from the police since the outbreak of the war on Oct. 7. (ToI)

  6. UN warns ‘starvation’ imminent in Gaza

    Aid agencies say that deliveries of basic humanitarian goods into Gaza are now practically nonexistent. The United Nations is warning that starvation is an immediate possibility. Israel’s cabinet approved a plan Nov. 17 to send two daily shipments of fuel into the Gaza Strip. But before the war, some 500 trucks of food and goods were entering the strip every day from Israel. The total number of deliveries through the Egyptian crossing at Rafah is some 1,000 trucks since the war began. (PRI)