|PCHR launches campaign 'Palestine to the ICC'|
|Monday, 10 December 2012 00:00|
On 10 December, 2012, on the occasion of
Human Rights Day, PCHR is launching its '
The drafters of the Rome Statute recognised that “all people are united by common bonds, their cultures pieced together in a shared heritage.” The values that form the Court are indeed universal, building upon the rights that were proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. As article 2 states “…no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”
64 years later, countless peoples are still discriminated against and huge distinctions are made between individuals, simply because of the political status of the land into which they are born. The Palestinian people have consistently been discriminated against precisely because of the lack of independence in their territory and the limitation of sovereignty imposed on them since the creation of the State of Israel – that very same year.
The human rights situation in the occupied
Palestinian territory is worsening year after year. The right to
self-determination and the achievement of a
These same people, protected persons of international humanitarian law, are subjected to relentless attacks. During the so-called ‘Operation Cast Lead’, it was the civilian population in the eye of the storm, denied even the possibility to flee. Over 80% of all casualties were civilians. All this happened under the eyes of the international community. Nearly 4 years later, there has not been any proper investigation at the national level.
Worse still, the international community has looked on once more as Israel carried out yet another offensive involving disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks which caused the loss of many civilians lives. Almost two-thirds of those killed and 97% of those injured during ‘Operation Pillar of Defence’ were civilians. Even before ‘Operation Cast Lead’ has been properly investigated, yet another large-scale offensive has left many more victims in its wake.
The UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict found that war crimes and crimes against humanity had been committed during ‘Operation Cast Lead’. Most importantly, the Report outlined mechanisms of accountability at the national and, in case of failure, the international level. As concluded by the UN Committee of Experts “the official inquiry must be conducted by a truly independent body, given the obvious conflict inherent in the military’s examining its own role in designing and executing ‘Operation Cast Lead’”.
PCHR recognises that the ICC is the
principle independent body which is capable of conducting such investigations
and, in this context, PCHR is launching its campaign, '
the accession of
International Criminal Court should reopen the preliminary examination, and take into account the proper elements in order to finally open an investigation into the situation in Palestine, bringing the issue before the Pre-trial Chamber for a judicial determination of the matter. Finally, it falls upon the international community to support the efforts of the Palestinian people to seek justice for violations of international humanitarian and human rights law through use of the principle of universal jurisdiction.