Press Release- ICC filing on Palestine, ICC States Parties gather in The Hague
4 December 2019
Today 4 December 2019, a Legal Submission has been filed with the International Criminal Court (ICC), Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), concerning the Situation in Palestine under the provisions of the ICC’s Statute. It comes at a very important time as States Parties of the ICC are gathering in The Hague for the annual Assembly of States Parties (ASP). The ICC Prosecutor will report to States Parties in respect of all situations including Palestine.
The Communication has been filed by MH Group, a global justice and human rights consultancy specialising in advocacy in high profile international legal and diplomatic cases before international courts and bodies. Its President is Dr Mishana Hosseinioun, a lecturer at Oxford University. MH Group has been working with experts, officials, academics, and Victims from Palestine on this ICC Situation.
The filing emphasises that the OTP should open an investigation without any further delay into crimes committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, since 13 June 2014. The OTP is currently considering whether to open such an investigation, in a preliminary examination of the Situation. The Communication highlights the manner in which the ongoing delays in this case negatively impact on the Victims and the potential for bringing effective prosecutions in the future. The filing includes new evidence and information, as well as from Palestinian Victims, for the Prosecutor’s immediate consideration including research and commentary relevant to the crimes within the Court’s jurisdiction undertaken by renown Middle East expert, Professor Avi Shlaim (who is an Emeritus Fellow of St Antony's College and a former Professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford) and other leading experts and academics.
The Communication stresses that the Situation in Palestine was first raised before the OTP over ten years ago in January 2009 and that the severe delays by the OTP in opening an investigation can no longer be justified. Given the wealth of evidence and materials currently before the OTP which clearly meet the threshold of a ‘reasonable basis to believe’ that an investigation should be initiated, the Legal Submission calls for urgent action by the Prosecutor to fulfill her mandate. The rights of victims before the ICC and under international law to an effective and efficient investigation have been profoundly undermined by these delays. The paralysis of the current OTP preliminary examination is directly contributing to the violation of these fundamental rights.
Dr Mishana Hosseinioun stated, “We are filing this submission to the ICC Prosecutor at this critical time as she has one more year before she leaves office and 2020 must be the year in which she delays no longer and finally acts to investigate the widespread crimes committed against Palestinian civilians. Our submission includes vital information about these crimes, and raises the concerns of victims who see justice delayed as no justice at all”.
Counsel instructed by MH Group, Rodney Dixon QC, said “The Prosecutor is obliged to open an investigation when there is a reasonable basis to proceed. It is a low threshold designed to ensure that serious international crimes are not ignored and left unpunished. The evidence plainly exists in the case of Palestine to take the next step to investigate it. This is imperative to uphold the rights of victims to know the truth and receive a remedy within a reasonable time”.
Side-Event at ASP in The Hague:
Following the filing of this Communication, a Side-Event to the Eighteen Session of the ICC Assembly of States Parties in The Hague will be held on Thursday 5 December 2019 from 6-8pm at the World Forum Convention Centre in the Room Kilimanjaro 1 & 2.
The side-event will discuss MH Group’s Legal Submission, and the ICC Situation in Palestine, including the crimes under the jurisdiction of the Court, the evidence provided to the OTP, the rights of victims, and the prospects for the OTP to open an investigation in 2020.
Speakers will include:
· Dr Mishana Hosseinioun, Lecturer at the University of Oxford, President of MH Group
· Prof John Dugard SC, Professor Emeritus at Leiden University, Ad hoc Judge of the ICJ
· Rodney Dixon QC, Temple Garden Chambers (London and The Hague), ICC Counsel
· Stefan Waespi, Chief of Investigations, UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on 2018 Protests in Gaza
For further information on the Communication filed before the ICC by MH Group, and about the ASP Side-Event on 5 December 2019, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org