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The Politicisation of International Justice -A dissection of the ICC’s warrant application reveals that obvious liberties have been taken with the truth.

The Politicisation of International Justice -A dissection of the ICC’s warrant application reveals that obvious liberties have been taken with the truth.

By Norman J.W. Goda, publsihed on quillette.com May 31st.

Many human-rights advocates welcomed the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2002. The new tribunal aimed to replicate for contemporary atrocities what Nuremberg and subsequent tribunals accomplished for Nazi crimes. The court has marshalled evidence in the form of documents and testimony, it has established narratives of the atrocities themselves, and it has provided some measure of justice. The proceedings from the ICC—and the earlier ad hoc tribunals that adjudicated the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia and the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda—have also made great efforts to leave politics at the door. Judges and prosecutors have been respected jurists from states untouched by the atrocities themselves. No one could realistically dismiss the ICC as a purveyor of “victor’s justice,” or even politicised justice. 

This record abruptly ended on 20 May when ICC Prosecutor Kamil Khan submitted an application to the ICC pre-trial chamber requesting arrest warrants for three senior members of Hamas, including Yahya Sinwar, and two Israeli leaders, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant. The warrant request is based on the Rome Statute of 1998, which established the court’s procedures and clarified the definitions of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. But Khan’s application is also a highly politicised document. It professes to take no sides in Israel’s latest war with Hamas by creating false equivalencies between the belligerents, and it panders to commentators who have long argued that Western leaders—particularly the Israelis—have enjoyed immunity from the court’s strictures. 

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