ICC should probe Israel war crimes’: Arab leaders
- November 12, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
ICC should probe Israel war crimes’: Arab leaders
Section: International Organisation
Context: Arab leaders call for immediate Gaza ceasefire
More about the news:
- Saudi Arabia and other Muslim nations, in an extraordinary summit in Riyadh, called for an immediate halt to military operations in Gaza, rejecting Israel’s self-defense justification.
- The summit urged the International Criminal Court to investigate Israeli “war crimes” in the Palestinian territories.
- Leaders, including Iran’s Raisi and Turkey’s Erdogan, attended the gathering convened by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, condemning Israel’s actions.
- Palestinian President Abbas described the situation as a “genocidal war,” urging the U.S. to end Israeli “aggression”.
What are the laws of war:
- Two fundamental aspects of international law govern conflicts.
- Jus ad Bellum: This aspect of international law addresses the conditions and justifications for countries to use force in their international relations. It is regulated by the United Nations (UN) Charter.
- Jus in Bello: Jus in bello concerns the rules that dictate how a war is to be fought, specifying what military actions are permissible. Even if a country is justified under the UN Charter to use force, it must adhere to these rules.
- This law of war, known as international humanitarian law (IHL), outlined in customary international law, the 1949 Geneva Conventions, and the 1977 Additional Protocols, prescribes rules to protect civilians and minimize suffering during armed conflicts. Regardless of the justness of their cause, warring parties must abide by IHL.
Do the laws of war apply to the ongoing military conflict:
- The conflict between Israel and Hamas is considered an armed conflict in international law.
- It falls under the category of non-international armed conflict (NIAC) because it involves non-governmental forces i.e Hamas in battle with governmental forces i.e Israel.
- Both parties are obligated to adhere to International Humanitarian Law (IHL)
What are war crimes:
- War crimes encompass grave breaches of humanitarian laws within conflicts.
- The Rome Statute of the ICC provides the definition, which draws from the principles of the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
- It centers on the principle of individual accountability for actions committed on behalf of a state or its armed forces.Illustrative examples include hostage-taking, deliberate killings, torture or inhumane treatment of prisoners of war, and the recruitment of child soldiers.
What is Criteria for War Crimes:
- International humanitarian law employs three key principles to determine whether an individual or military has committed a war crime:
- Distinction: This principle forbids targeting objectives that are likely to cause excessive harm to civilians or civilian infrastructure compared to the expected military advantage.
- Proportionality: Proportionality restricts the use of disproportionate force in response to an attack. For instance, it prohibits indiscriminate retaliation, such as bombing an entire city for the death of a single soldier.
- Precaution: Parties involved in a conflict are obligated to take measures that prevent or minimize harm to the civilian population.
Some facts about International Criminal Court (ICC):
- The International Criminal Court is a permanent court to prosecute serious international crimes committed by individuals.
- It tries crimes such as genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and aggression.
- The court was established to fight global impunity and bring to justice criminals under international law, regardless of their rank or stature.
- It is different from the United Nations’ International Court of Justice, also at The Hague.
- The Head Quarter of ICC is in The Hague, The Netherlands
- Statute :Before the ICC became functional in 2002, its founding treaty was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1998 in Rome, Italy, thereby making it the Rome Statute.
How one can become member of ICC:
- To become a member of the ICC or State party to the Rome Statute, countries have to sign the statute and ratify it under their respective legislatures.
- 123 countries are currently members of the ICC, with African countries making up the largest bloc.
- Notably, countries including India, China, Iraq, North Korea and Turkey never signed the Rome Statute.
- Others including the US, Russia, Israel and Syria signed, but never ratified
What are the Geneva Conventions (1949):
- The Geneva Conventions, established in 1949 along with their Additional Protocols, represent crucial international agreements that set forth fundamental regulations to mitigate the cruelty of armed conflict.
- These conventions provide safeguards for non-combatantsi.e civilians, medical personnel, humanitarian workers and individuals who are no longer able to participate in combat i.e injured, sick, and shipwrecked military personnel, as well as prisoners of war.
- The First Geneva Convention protects wounded and sick soldiers on land during war.
- The Second Geneva Convention protects wounded, sick and shipwrecked military personnel at sea during war.
- The Third Geneva Convention applies to prisoners of war, including a wide range of general protections such as humane treatment, maintenance and equality across prisoners, conditions of captivity, questioning and evacuation of prisoners, transit camps, food, clothing, medicines, hygiene and right to religious, intellectual, and physical activities of prisoners.
- The Fourth Geneva Convention protects civilians, including those in occupied territory. The other Geneva Conventions were concerned mainly with combatants rather than civilians.
- Two Protocols of 1977: Additional to the four 1949 Geneva Conventions were adopted in 1977. They strengthen the protection of victims of international (Protocol I) and non-international (Protocol II) armed conflicts and place limits on the way wars are fought.
- In 2005, a third Additional Protocol was adopted creating an additional emblem, the Red Crystal, which has the same international status as the Red Cross and Red Crescent emblems.