In a letter to the Conservative Friends of Israel, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed the UK’s opposition to the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) announcement of an investigation into alleged war crimes by Israel.
The Prime Minister wrote: “We oppose the ICC’s investigation into war crimes in Palestine” adding that “we do not accept that the ICC has jurisdiction in this instance, given that Israel is not a party to the Statute of Rome and Palestine is not a sovereign state..
“This investigation gives the impression of being a partial and prejudicial attack on a friend and ally of the UK’s.”
Israel has said it will notify the International Criminal Court that it will not cooperate with the Hague-based tribunal’s probe.
“Israel vehemently rejects the claim that it is committing war crimes and stresses its unequivocal stance that the ICC has no jurisdiction to open a probe against it,” the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said.
The office of ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced last month that the court will proceed with a probe into possible abuses committed in the Palestinian Territories since 2014. The investigation will cover alleged war crimes both by Israeli forces and Hamas during the conflict in Gaza and Israel’s settlement activity in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
The court opens investigations in places where the domestic authorities are unable or unwilling to look into allegations of abuse.
Human rights groups accuse Israeli authorities of failing to meaningfully investigate and prosecute violations committed against Palestinians.
Earlier this week, an Amnesty International report called on Israeli judicial authorities to “hold members of security services to account for abuses.”
“Israel continued to carry out systematic violations, including crimes under international law, against Palestinians with impunity,” it said.
UPDATE: In response to a complaint by CAMERA UK we have modified the expression “Israeli war crimes” to “alleged Israeli war crimes” as the investigation has yet to conclude.