In an open letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Amnesty International (AI) said Canada must support the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory.
It said that as Canada has been an important supporter of the work of the ICC, and since the Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, has announced on 20 December 2019 that she was satisfied there was a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the possible commission of war crimes in Palestine – the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza – from 2014 onward, which “offers a crucial opportunity to break the cycle of impunity for war crimes and paves the way for the many thousands who have suffered as a result of these crimes to finally achieve long overdue access to truth, justice and reparations,” accordingly, “we are writing you to urge the Government of Canada to support the decisions of the Prosecutor respecting this matter.”
AI said in the open letter to Trudeau that “as long as Israel believes that it enjoys impunity from its violations of international law, it will continue to deepen its five-decade-long occupation and, in the near future, seek to illegally annex significant portions of the West Bank. This is the impact of impunity wherever it becomes the norm.”
Amnesty added: “Impunity and a deep disregard by Israel for international law and the clear direction of the international community over several decades have played a substantive role in perpetuating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Seeking justice and accountability at the international level for victims and survivors of grave human rights violations cannot be seriously regarded as undermining the path to peace.”
Accordingly, it urged Canada’s Trudeau to support the Prosecutor’s motion before the Pre Trial Chamber that the “territory” over which the ICC may exercise its jurisdiction under the Rome Statute for the purpose of formally investigating the purported commission of war crimes in this situation comprises the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza, and, “Not to take any steps at the ICC or any other international forum that would oppose the work of the Prosecutor in this regard.”