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South Africa’s Neutrality In The New Cold War Is Under Threat From Western Pressure

BY ANDREW KORYBKO | APRIL 26, 2023

South Africa’s recent flipflopping on its membership in the “International Criminal Court” (ICC) proves that its neutrality in the New Cold War is under threat from Western pressure. President Ramaphosa announced on Tuesday that “the governing party has taken that decision that it is prudent that South Africa should pull out of the ICC” due to its “unfair treatment” of certain countries. Shortly after, however, his office claimed that he misspoke and reaffirmed South Africa’s commitment to the ICC.

Nevertheless, there are reasons to suspect that this isn’t the case, especially since Ramaphosa exuded supreme confidence in sharing Tuesday’s announcement about his country’s plans to pull out of that global body. It’s therefore unlikely that he simply misspoke and much more probable that Western diplomats immediately intervened behind the scenes to pressure him into walking back this policy. They presumably acted so swiftly due to the strategic significance of everything that’s at stake right now.

South Africa will host this year’s BRICS Summit in late August, but the ICC’s warrant for President Putin’s arrest complicates his participation in person. Had Ramaphosa initiated the process for withdrawing his country from that organization on the legitimate pretext that he earlier claimed would be employed, then there’d be no ambiguity about the Russian leader’s safety if he showed up there. Since this policy was just walked back, however, there are reasons to suspect a Western provocation if he appears.

Even though South Africa declined to arrest former Sudanese leader Bashir despite the ICC having previously demanded that all members do so if he sets foot on their territory, President Putin’s security can’t in good conscience assume that they’ll make an exception for him too. The most responsible decision amidst that summit host’s latest flipflopping might therefore be for him to participate virtually in order to not take a chance that something terrible could happen.

While the organizational proceedings would still likely unfold as planned in that scenario with only few modifications, very serious and potentially even irreparable damage might be inflicted on BRICS as a result. China and India could conclude that South Africa is an unreliable partner seeing as how it would have capitulated to Western pressure, while they’d also expect Brazil to do the same since it’s a party to the ICC too and its top diplomat earlier implied that his country might arrest President Putin if he visits.

BRICS in its present form can theoretically continue to function as the engine of financial multipolarity in spite of the Russian leader being unable to visit either of those two member states for its summits, but the organization might struggle to attract new members whose countries aren’t part of the ICC. After all, the leaders of Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkiye could potentially be served similarly politicized warrants one day too that would preclude their participation in BRICS summits hosted by ICC states.

The US has an obvious interest in dissuading them and others from joining BRICS as official members, and its speculative behind-the-scenes pressure on South Africa to remain committed to serving the ICC’s arrest warrant against President Putin could have a powerful deterrent effect on candidate countries. This year’s summit is supposed to see its incumbents reach a consensus on expanding their organization, which is incredibly urgent to do considering that at least 19 states are vying to join.

The larger context in which South Africa just flipflopped on its ICC commitments is therefore of outsized importance not just for BRICS’ future, but by extrapolation, also for the emerging Multipolar World Order as well due to that group’s function as the engine of financial multipolarity. With this in mind, it can be concluded that the US’ clandestine pressure campaign is a major power play in the New Cold War aimed at impeding BRICS’ ability to collectively challenge the dollar anytime soon.

April 26, 2023 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

ICC irreversibly crosses the line of legal decency

By Stephen Karganovic | Strategic Culture Foundation | March 29, 2023

Acting at the behest of its political controllers and paymasters, the racist International Criminal Court [ICC], whose principal activity since its founding in 2003 has been the malicious persecution of black African leaders, now, for a change, targets for judicial abuse a distinguished Eurasian figure.

Observers with an attention span of more than fifteen minutes (which would exclude the vast majority in the bamboozled Western countries) should have noticed immediately several glaring anomalies in ICC’s “arrest warrant.”

The warrant purports to be based on humanitarian concern for the welfare of children allegedly transferred illegally from the Donbas. The court officers’ public rationale, however, omits widely known facts regarding the systematic bombardment of civilians in Donetsk and Lugansk since 2014. It ignores the demonstrated death toll of that crime amounting to at least 14,000 victims, including several thousand children. Neither this manifest offence against humanity nor the desire to call to account its obvious perpetrators, the military and political structures of the Kiev Nazi regime, seem to have played any role in the court’s deliberations.

Why not? How can meticulous adherence to the provisions of the Geneva Convention which requires the evacuation of civilians from areas affected by armed conflict (Article 49) be deemed grounds for the issuance of a criminal warrant, while widespread, systematic, and indiscriminate lethal shelling of civilians is passed over in silence, without triggering any prosecutorial reaction?

For that matter, a further question can also be raised with regard to another anomaly, just as glaring. Why have the alleged atrocities in Bucha and Kramatorsk last year apparently been memory holed, to be replaced now by another that has been obviously contrived? If criminal charges were to be pressed, why have the Bucha and Kramatorsk incidents, which at the time of their alleged occurrence were the subject of extraordinary propaganda campaigns, suddenly disappeared from the radar screen? And precisely when they could have served as the most credible foundation for an arrest warrant, assuming there ever was any evidence to support those allegations? Might the fact that both false flag operations were efficiently exposed in the early stages have anything to do with this strange reticence?

How incompetent – or politically corrupt – must a prosecutor be to forego a supposedly open and shut case in favor of a case, and that is putting it very charitably, that is at best legally ambiguous and highly dubious? This question is addressed to the ICC Prosecutor, colonial lackey and consummate opportunist Karim Khan, of course.

Two additional considerations must also be submitted to the judgment of that part of the public whose brains have not yet been fried by propaganda. If the welfare of children is foremost on the minds of ICC staff, what have they got to say about the tsunami of reports that the Kiev junta, desperate to replenish its supply of cannon fodder, is now detaining and kidnapping underage children and with virtually no military training sending them to war, where they have an estimated life expectancy of about four hours?

Rule 136 0f the Convention on the Rights of the Child holds plainly that “Children must not be recruited into armed forces or armed groups.” Additional Protocols I and II, the Statute of the International Criminal Court itself [Art. 8 (b) (xxvi)] and of the Special Court for Sierra Leone put the minimum age for recruitment in armed forces or armed groups at 15, as does the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Are ICC prosecutors capable of reading their own court’s regulations, or do they even care?

Should credible reports of such odious practices, unquestionably in contravention of international conventions which govern the use of child soldiers, not merit at least a full scale ICC investigation?

An equally grave question should be raised concerning the imminent dispatch of hazardous and banned depleted uranium munitions by Great Britain to the armed forces of the Ukrainian junta.

Contrary to the rationalisations of the British Government, depleted uranium munitions are provably detrimental to the environment, as well as to human beings and all forms of animate life in the proximity of their impact. That includes children, of course, who are particularly vulnerable and subject to genetic deformations and painful and lethal illnesses. The catastrophic impact of the use of such munitions in Yugoslavia and Iraq has been extensively studied and well documented over the past several decades. Former UN arms control inspector Scott Ritter has exposed the evils of this practice professionally and competently. It is prohibited by international humanitarian law and if allowed it will constitute a grave threat to life and health both of children and adults in the Ukraine. Would not the warning of arrest warrants for the relevant authorities in the United Kingdom be a suitable response by the ICC in the face of a potential disaster of such magnitude?

It is important to note that the International Criminal Court is a linear extension of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia [ICTY] and that its conduct cannot be fully understood without reference to the pattern of lawless behaviour previously exhibited by its model. Indeed, the word “conduct” is in this case a more appropriate terms than “jurisprudence” because neither court has bothered to develop a body of law and legal interpretation in the conventional sense. It is of no significance that ICTY is a manifestly illegal outfit, set up in contravention of the UN Charter, while ICC arguably was properly constituted by international treaty. In their practical operation they have both served as tools of the arrogance of power of global hegemons. Their joint task has been not to uphold the principles of international law, but to demolish them in order to provide a legalistic veneer for the execution of the hegemons’ criminal undertakings.

It is therefore scarcely surprising that the preposterous grounds cited by the ICC for issuing warrants against Russian officials for an alleged act of gross turpitude consisting of the safe evacuation of children from the war zone in the Donbas had an exact analogue in the past behaviour of ICC’s infamous model, the ICTY.

In a nutshell, Serbian defendants in the ICTY Srebrenica trials were routinely charged with a grave breach of international humanitarian law, forced deportation of the civilian population. In mid-July of 1995, three meetings were held between the commander of the UN Protection Force in Srebrenica, Col. Thom Karremans, and the Serbian Commander Gen. Ratko Mladic to consider the issue of civilian refugees assembled in a nearby village. The Serbian side made complete video recordings of those meetings which leave no doubt as to what had in fact transpired. Although the video evidence unambiguously shows that Col. Karremans came to Mladic to convey the request of the UN Command that the refugees be evacuated to safety onto territory where military operations were not taking place, ICTY Prosecution charged Mladic with ordering the expulsion and ethnic cleansing of the refugees. What actually happened is that Gen. Mladic acceded to UN Command’s request, as he had the duty to do under international law since fighting around Srebrenica was still in progress, and as a result the refugees were properly evacuated, as agreed.

For acting in good faith to protect civilians in a zone of conflict, Gen. Mladic was indicted, among other things, for genocide and crime against humanity, deportation.

The exculpatory video evidence was never presented in court in its totality. Snippets taken out of context and appearing to favor the prosecution case were the only parts allowed to be introduced into the evidence. Live testimony by Col. Karremans, who obviously would have been a key witness, was obstructed at every turn by the prosecution with the connivance of the Chamber. Technically, the judges could not be faulted for not taking into account evidence that had not been put before them. In the end, they washed their hands and calmly drew conclusions that were contrary to the facts, but with grave consequences for the defendant.

The Russian targets of ICC’s warrants will never, of course, be in the position of General Mladic. However, the cowboy style of ICTY´s corrupt proceedings, fully assimilated by its subsequent clone, ICC, gives a foretaste of what awaits anyone unlucky enough to fall in its clutches.

ICC, like its precursor ICTY, is a disgrace to law in all its civilised forms. State parties should be encouraged to withdraw from it while it is still possible for them to avoid embarrassment by association.

March 29, 2023 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , , | 1 Comment

THE ARRESTS MORE OR LESS REAL OF KHAN, TRUMP AND PUTIN: THE PANIC OF THE DEEP STATE

By Cesare Sacchetti | The Eye Of The Needle | March 26, 2023

The end of the last week was shaken by an unreal announcement. The ICC tribunal, which has its headquarters in The Hague, announced that it issued a warrant arrest against the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin.

For those who have not any familiarity with this court, it does not have any jurisdiction in Russia due to the simple fact that Russia never signed the treaty that instituted the ICC.

Moreover, the ICC does not have a good reputation at all. We are talking about the court that was illegally prosecuting, according to several jurists, former Serbian president, Slobodan Milosevic with the charge of genocide.

Milosevic was very close to getting an acquittal because he was demolishing the case against him in court. Unfortunately, he could not get one because he died in never clarified circumstances before the end of his trial.

Some observers hold The Hague accountable for his death because Milosevic could have unmasked years of lies spread by NATO against him.

Nevertheless, the ICC prosecutor, Kharim Khan, showed himself before the world press and claimed that Putin was “guilty” of having trafficked Ukrainian children to Russia.

For those who don’t know much about Ukraine before the current war, the truth is quite simple. Ukraine was a world children supermarket. People from every part of the world ordered organs that were harvested from the bodies of innocent Ukrainian children.

Certainly, we are not talking about ordinary people. We are talking about people who travel in private jets. People who attend the WEF and who preach about pseudo-environmentalism while they’re the first to breach the rules of the insane and dystopian world that they imagine.

Therefore, if there is someone here who is guilty of child trafficking that would be the Ukrainian establishment, which is completely corrupt and handled by the foreign puppeteers who installed it in power.

The Euromaidan coup that was defined by Stratfor (a think tank quite close to the US deep state) as the “most blatant coup in history” is the “best” example of how the Ukrainian establishment is fully dependent upon the Anglosphere.

And the ICC has been silent for years about this horrendous traffic. It has not been saying a word about it. So if the ICC is really seeking who is responsible for the abuses suffered by the Ukrainian children, it should look at itself in the mirror. This trafficking has been taking place on the ICC’s watch, which has never lifted a finger to put an end to it.

However, this grotesque and provocative move has nothing to do with juridical issues. As we will see later, this is a political move that is deeply connected with two other announced arrests: that of Donald Trump and the one of the former Pakistani PM, Imran Khan.

The bogus case against Trump

On Friday 17th, Trump announced on Truth Social that the NY’s DA office was planning to arrest him for the Stormy Daniels case.

Basically, the case is founded upon the quite shaky legal grounds that Trump allegedly paid hush money to a pornstar, Stormy Daniels, in order to keep her quiet about his alleged affair with her.

Firstly, we should give a brief introduction about the US legal system and its developments in the latest years.

As many readers probably already know, the DAs in the US are elective assignments. They usually run for the Democratic or the Republican Party and they receive funds for their campaigns. And in recent years, a magnate who has spent a lot of money for getting elected DAs is George Soros. Soros has a very particular type of DA in mind to fulfill his “open society”.

Soros’ idea of a DA is an official who does not prosecute crimes and who allows the streets of his city to be ruled by criminals. The Open Society is literally allowing the dregs of society to have a free hand in harassing, raping, stealing and killing honest citizens.

The globalist world is where everything is upside down and where good is bad and right is wrong.

Therefore, if you happen to live in one of the cities where Soros DAs were elected and you’re a good citizen, you could be in trouble.

As a law abiding citizen, you’re not part of the open society. And you’re even more in trouble if you have political ideas keen to the principles of loving your country and defending it from foreign and domestic enemies.

And this is certainly the case of Donald Trump, who’s the target of never-ending political witch hunts.

In this case, the Soros DA who’s persecuting Trump is Alvin Bragg. Bragg would like to indict Trump for the 130,000 $ of hush money allegedly paid to Daniels. Money that was allegedly transferred to former Trump attorney, Michael Cohen, who, in turn, gave it to Stormy Daniels.

This round of transactions would constitute a falsification of Trump’s business records, according to the NY’s DA. But there’s a problem with all this theory. It is crumbling under the proofs to the contrary that are emerging in these days.

We are talking about crucial exculpatory evidence here like the letter signed by Cohen in which he clearly states that Trump never paid or reimbursed him for the money that he had given to Stormy Daniels in the first place.

In a normal world, the case would have been closed but in Soros’ world, it is not. Bragg’s probe seems to be falling under the blows of this evidence and the Grand Jury that should decide to proceed or not with Trump’s indictment keeps being postponed.

And this is happening because everyone in the legal arena, including Trump’s enemies, knows that Bragg does not have a case, and if he keeps overplaying his hand, he could be the one ending up indicted for abuse of power and for hiding crucial evidence who would immediately exonerate Trump from this bogus probe.

Therefore, Trump’s arrest seems to be less likely as the days go by. Never in the history of the United States, have we seen a President persecuted like Donald Trump.

From the very first moment when he went down the escalator of Trump Tower, he became enemy number one for the deep state.

Immediately, those powers who ruled Washington for decades tried to bar his way to the White House.

They started with the Russiagate hoax, also known as Spygate, which is an international plot that sees involved also British and Italian secret services in order to frame Trump by falsely accusing him of being a “Russian agent”.

They did not stop there. They even tried to physically remove him from the White House with at least two assassination attempts in August 2020 and with another at Mar-a-Lago in January 2021.

They even tried to oust him with the 2020 election fraud, which could be defined as the most blatant electoral fraud in history. Not to mention two attempted and failed impeachments against him, which were both based on preposterous and false accusations.

A war machine was clearly put in motion. It is the machine of those secret powers that have ruled the United States for far too long. Powers that hijacked the history of this country in order to subvert foreign leaders who were not obeying the orders of NATO and of the Israeli lobby. Powers that harmed and killed so many Americans and many other people all around the world.

The American people elected Trump to halt the exploitation of the United States. American people were fed up with seeing their country used to fulfill a global agenda whose only purpose is to establish a world totalitarian government.

And Trump is the political leader who has incarnated that spirit – the spirit of making America great again and of freeing this nation from the chains of her enemies.

The Bragg probe is just the latest attempt of this war against Trump and the American people. Trump is just inches away from officially returning to the White House and, as a result, the deep state launched this bogus investigation. It is an investigation that remains unclear if it will lead to an indictment and an eventual arrest.

The system has a very weak hand and Trump knows it. Most likely, his announcement aimed to expose this plot even if its probabilities of success are very low.

Imran Khan: the man who the deep state wants dead

Someone who is also running the risk of being arrested is former Pakistani PM, Imran Khan. Khan denounced last year a plot that was hatched by NATO’s circles to oust him from power.

Khan was and still is a very dangerous threat for the US deep state powers. The Pakistani leader aimed to establish relations with BRICS and, by doing so, Pakistan would have left the Anglosphere.

If this would come to fruition, NATO would lose another key strategic country in Asia.

That’s why he was removed with a confidence vote that was heavily swayed by foreign influences. But Khan didn’t throw in the towel.

He kept fighting for Pakistan. He keeps gathering massive crowds at his rallies. For the deep state, the risk was too high. They tried to kill him and if Khan is alive today, it is only for the result of miraculous circumstances.

On Saturday 18th, the police stormed his residence. Khan is facing a trial in Islamabad where the charge is of having sold watches that he received as gifts when he was still in charge. It’s not known what is the evidence of this “crime” but this case seems to be quite weak as the one against President Trump.

Therefore, the Pakistani leader could have the opportunity to run at the next election scheduled for this coming October. It’s a nightmarish scenario for the Anglozionist powers because Pakistan would definitely shift towards the multipolar world.

However, there are still some traps set on the way and Khan knows it. This is why he urged his supporters not to engage in any kind of violence because he knows that Sharif, the current PM, is seeking a way to frame him.

So we can see how all these three attempted arrests are connected to each other. Trump, Putin and Khan belong to the international patriotic alliance that is fighting against the globalist side.

On the one hand, we have a side of leaders who are fighting to preserve the sovereignity of their countries. On the other, we have unelected powerful banking families like the Rothschilds who have been trying to destroy the independence and prosperity of every country in the world.

What we saw in the last 14 days is just the latest chapter of this current war between these two sides.

And the globalist side is being inflicted tremendous blows.

Only in this week, Putin received more than 40 African leaders in a conference about the multipolar world. And why he was attending this event, he also received the Chinese president, Xi Jinping.

The BRICS are changing the lines of international politics. The world is shifting from the rule of the Anglosphere empire towards the restoration of the national States.

When Xi Jinping states that the changes that Russia and China are driving are unprecedented in the last 100 years, he’s quite right.

Even Saudi Arabia, a country forged by British and Zionist powers, understood that things went south and restored diplomatic relationships with Iran.

The world is changing at a tremendous speed. We are moving from the old globalized and centralized world towards one when there are no ruling powers. The age of the empires has died. The age of the nations has begun again.

After the defeat of NATO in Ukraine, which is running out of ammunitions, we will have passed the point of no return. NATO’s crisis will be so deep to the point that it could dissolve itself.

At that point, the EU, the last frail bulwark of globalism will be encircled. The crisis of the European establishment will aggravate and people in the EU countries will demand the end of neoliberal austerity and the normalization of relations with Russia.

Italy still seems to be the ideal candidate to run this process considering the fact that she has the most euro skeptical and most pro-Russia people in Europe.

And this is a perspective that scares a lot of members of both the Italian and EU deep state.

The old world of despotism is dying. The new world of free nations is being created.

We are certainly living in one of the most exciting and important times in history.

March 29, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception | , , , , , | 1 Comment

US paranoid about Russia-China summit

BY M. K. BHADRAKUMAR |  INDIAN PUNCHLINE |MARCH 19, 2023 

The arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court against Vladimir Putin can only be seen as a publicity stunt by the Anglo-Saxon clique, with the US leading from the rear. Ironically, though, the ICC acted on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Iraq in 2003, which led to horrific war crimes but the “judges” at Hague slept over it. Both Washington and London admit today that the 2003 invasion was illegal — based on trumped up allegations against Saddam Hussein.  

There’s no chance, of course, that the ICC warrant will ever be taken seriously. ICC has no jurisdiction in Russia, which like the US is not a signatory to the Rome Statute. But the intention here is something else.

The mud-throwing at Putin is yet another display of President Biden’s visceral hatred towards the Russian leader that goes back in time by well over a decade, and is timed to distract attention from the state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow on Monday, an event that not only has spectacular optics but is sure to intensify the “no limit” partnership between the two superpowers. 

The Anglo-Saxon clique is watching the talks in Moscow tomorrow with dismay. To be sure, Moscow and Beijing have decided to stand together to push back the US hegemony.

Today, China exceeds the combined manufacturing capacity of the US and its European allies, and, equally, Russia has emerged as the world’s largest nuclear weapon state superior to the US both in the quantity and quality of the weaponry. 

It has dawned on the American mind that Russia cannot be defeated in Ukraine. There is a chicken-and-egg situation facing NATO, according to a report in Politico. Massive investments are needed to catch up with Russia’s defence industry but Europe’s ailing economies have other critical priorities.

The notions of defeating Russia in a proxy war in conditions of “sanctions from hell” have turned out to be delusional. It is US banks that are collapsing, it is European economies that are threatened by stagnation. 

The US’ exasperation is evident in the top secret mission by MQ-9 Reaper drone near the Crimean peninsula on March 14. US Global Hawk drones have been spotted regularly over the Black Sea in recent years but this case was different. 

The Reaper’s transponder was switched off as it entered Russia’s temporary regime for the airspace established for the purposes of the special military operation near the Crimean peninsula (which Moscow had duly notified to all users of international airspace in accordance with international norms.)

In the event, Russia’s Su-27 fighter jets outmanoeuvred the Reaper, which lost control and drowned in the Black Sea. Moscow conferred state awards to the two pilots who drove Reaper to the seabed.

The Russian ambassador in Washington has since warned that while Moscow is not seeking any escalation, any deliberate attack on a Russian aircraft in neutral airspace will be construed as “an open declaration of war against the largest nuclear power.” 

If the US planned the drone incident to test Russia’s reaction, well, the latter has given an unambiguous message. And all this took place in the immediate run-up to President Xi’s visit. 

Biden since hit back by welcoming the ICC warrant on Putin saying “it’s justified… (and) makes a very strong point.” But Biden’s memory is failing him. For, the stated American position on ICC is that Washington not only doesn’t recognise the jurisdiction of the ICC but if any US national is arrested or brought before the ICC, Washington reserves the right to use military force to rescue the detainee! 

Furthermore, Washington threatens reprisal against any country that cooperates with an ICC warrant against a US citizen. The George W Bush administration stated this categorically against the backdrop of the horrific war crimes in Iraq, and the US never resiled from it. 

By the way, there has been no referral by the UN Security Council or General Assembly to the ICC. So, who organised this arrest warrant? Britain — who else? The Brits bullied the ICC judges who are highly vulnerable to blackmail, as they draw fat salaries and would sup with the devil if it helped secure extended terms for them at the Hague. This becomes yet another case study of the piecemeal destruction of the UN system by the Anglo-Saxon clique in the recent years.

Suffice to say, the drone incident and the ICC warrant vitiate the climate for any dialogue between Moscow and Kiev. Evidently, the Anglo-Saxon clique is worried like hell that China might spring another surprise as it did recently by mediating the recent Saudi-Iranian deal. 

In a meaningful remark, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Friday that Xi’s visit is partially to promote “peace.” Beijing has already released a “peace plan” for Ukraine, a 12-point agenda for “a political resolution of the Ukraine crisis,” which is  on Zelensky’s table in Kiev although the West studiously chose to ignore it. 

In a phone call on Thursday, Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang told his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba that Beijing hopes “all parties will remain calm, rational and restrained, and resume peace talks as soon as possible.” 

The Chinese readout said Kuleba discussed “the prospect of peace talks … and noted that China’s position paper on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis shows its sincerity in promoting a ceasefire and an end to the conflict. He expressed the hope to maintain communication with China.”

Unsurprisingly, Biden is paranoid about China’s push to mediate between Moscow and Kiev. The point is, he and Zelensky are locked in a deathly embrace — the corruption scam involving the activities of Biden’s son in Kiev is hanging over POTUS like the Damocles’ sword, while on the other hand, Zelensky is fighting for political survival and is increasingly acting on his own. 

Disregarding western doubts about the wisdom of holding the shattered frontline city of Bakhmut, Zelensky is digging in and keeping up an attritional defence that may drag on. (Politico) 

Evidently, Biden is acting like a cat on a hot tin rood. He can neither let go Zelensky nor can afford to be locked into a forever war in Ukraine while Taiwan Straits beckons.

Beijing’s stance has visibly hardened lately and the scorn that the US poured on China’s national pride by shooting down its weather balloon has only exacerbated the distrust. Similarly, the nadir has been reached for Russia with the Reaper drone provocation and the Anglo-Saxon clique’s ICC scam. A point of no return has been reached.

Xi has chosen Russia for his first visit abroad in his third term also, the war in Ukraine notwithstanding. While announcing Xi’s visit to Russia, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, “As the world enters a new period of turbulence and change, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and an important power, the significance and influence of China-Russia relations go far beyond the bilateral scope.”

Again, Biden would have thought he was putting Putin on the mat with the Reaper stunt and the ICC scam. But Putin is nonchalant, choosing today to defiantly make his first-ever visit to Donbass.

Putin toured Mariupol, the port city that was bitterly contested by the NATO operatives, drove a vehicle along the city streets, making stops at several locations and surveying reconstruction works. It was a defiant signal to Biden that NATO has lost the war.

March 19, 2023 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 1 Comment

ICC Has Been ‘Weaponized to Buttress US Imperialism’ & ‘Deserves to be Abolished’

By Svetlana Ekimenko – Sputnik – 18.03.2023

By issuing “warrants of arrest” against two senior Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has revealed its flagrant Western bias, Professor Alfred de Zayas, former UN independent expert on international order, has stated.

The decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to seek indictment of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin “may be the last nail in the coffin of the ICC’s credibility,” according to Professor Alfred de Zayas, former UN independent expert on international order.

Based in the Dutch city of The Hague, the ICC on March 17 purported to charge Putin, as well as his children’s rights commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova, with “unlawful deportation of population and that of unlawful transfer of population” over reports that Ukrainian children were taken from parts of western Russia that had previously seceded from Ukraine and joined the Russian Federation. Moscow has dismissed the ICC’s “warrants of arrest,” with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov repeatedly stating that Russia is not a party to the ICC and its jurisdiction is not recognized by Moscow.

“No one from the West was ever indicted” after the establishment of the ICC in 2002, Alfred de Zayas pointed out to Sputnik.

“In 20 years it only indicted Africans and for that reason it was rightly called neo-colonial. Now it indicts Putin, revealing its flagrant Western bias. Since the entry into force of the Rome Statute there have been thousands of war crimes under the responsibility of NATO governments… War crimes have been documented in NATO wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. Why has no one ever been indicted there?” the author of 10 books, including “Building a Just World Order,” asked.

At this point, the professor rolled off several names that he believed deserved indictment for a plethora of war crimes.

“If the ICC indicts Putin, why not Tony Blair, George W. Bush, Barack Obama (the king of the drones), Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Joe Biden…”

The current prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Asad Ahmad Khan KC, a British lawyer specializing in international criminal law who has served in the post since 2021, has blatantly “demonstrated his bias by discontinuing investigation of war crimes by the US in Afghanistan, but continuing investigations against Taliban,” Professor Alfred de Zayas clarified.

The prolific author also deplored the fact that while in his previous publications he had advocated for the establishment of the International Criminal Court, he has now been made aware of how the ICC has been “politicized and made irrelevant.”

“The ICC would only serve a purpose if it were rigorously independent, objective and professional. The weaponization of the ICC to buttress US imperialism is painful… After 20 years of largely political, not strictly legal activity, the ICC deserves to be abolished. Justice means Justice for all, not only for privileged countries,” Professor de Zayas summed up.

After the International Criminal Court issued its “warrants of arrest” against President Vladimir Putin and his children’s rights commissioner, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova announced on Friday that, “Decisions of the International Criminal Court have no significance for our country, including from a legal point of view… Russia is not a party to the ICC’s Rome Statute and bears no obligations under it.”

As for the purported “unlawful transfer” of Ukrainian children, Western officials and media, along with Kiev regime officials, have been claiming for months that Russia has been “stealing” these minors by relocating them from the conflict zone’s front lines. Moscow has repeatedly explained that the civilians are threatened with regular shelling attacks by Ukrainian forces – hence the relocation.

“We do our best to keep young citizens in families, and in cases of the absence or death of parents and relatives, to transfer orphans to guardianship. We are ensuring the protection of their lives and well-being,” the Russian Embassy in the US said last month.

March 18, 2023 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | | 3 Comments

List of Israeli Targets Leaked: Tel Aviv Fears the Worst in ICC Investigation of War Crimes

By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle | July 29, 2020

When International Court of Justice (ICC) Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, confirmed last December that the Court has ample evidence to pursue a war crimes investigation in occupied Palestine, the Israeli government responded with the usual rhetoric, accusing the international community of bias and insisting on Israel’s ‘right to defend itself.’

Beneath the platitudes and typical Israeli discourse, the Israeli government knew too well that an ICC investigation into war crimes in Palestine could be quite costly. An investigation, in itself, represents an indictment of sorts. If Israeli individuals were to be indicted for war crimes, that is a different story, as it becomes a legal obligation of ICC members to apprehend the criminals and hand them over to the Court.

Israel remained publicly composed, even after Bensouda, last April, elaborated on her December decision with a 60-page legal report, titled: “Situation in the State of Palestine: Prosecution Response to the Observations of Amici Curiae, Legal Representatives of Victims, and States.”

In the report, the ICC addressed many of the questions, doubts and reports submitted or raised in the four months that followed her earlier decision. Countries such as Germany and Austria, among others, had used their position as amici curiae – ‘friends of the court’ – to question the ICC jurisdiction and the status of Palestine as a country.

Bensouda insisted that “the Prosecutor is satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to initiate an investigation into the situation in Palestine under article 53(1) of the Rome Statute, and that the scope of the Court’s territorial jurisdiction comprises the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza (“Occupied Palestinian Territory”).”

However, Bensouda did not provide definitive timelines to the investigation; instead, she requested that the ICC’S Pre-Trial Chamber “confirm the scope of the Court’s territorial jurisdiction in Palestine,” an additional step that is hardly required since the State of Palestine, a signatory of the Rome Statute, is the one that actually referred the case directly to the Prosecutor’s office.

The April report, in particular, was the wake-up call for Tel Aviv. Between the initial decision in December till the release of the latter report, Israel lobbied on many fronts, enlisting the help of ICC members and recruiting its greatest benefactor, Washington – which is not an ICC member – to bully the Court so it may reverse its decision.

On May 15, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, warned the ICC against pursuing the investigation, targeting Bensouda, in particular, for her decision to hold war criminals in Palestine accountable.

The US slapped unprecedented sanctions against the ICC on June 11, with President Donald Trump issuing an ‘executive order’ that authorizes the freezing of assets and a travel ban against ICC officials and their families. The order also allows for the punishing of other individuals or entities that assist the ICC in its investigation.

Washington’s decision to carry out punitive measures against the very Court that was established for the sole purpose of holding war criminals accountable is both outrageous and abhorrent. It also exposes Washington’s hypocrisy – the country that claims to defend human rights is attempting to prevent legal accountability by those who have violated human rights.

Upon its failure to halt the ICC legal procedures regarding its investigation of war crimes, Israel began to prepare for the worst. On July 15, Israeli daily newspaper, Haaretz, reported about a ‘secret list’ that was drawn up by the Israeli government. The list includes “between 200 and 300 officials”, ranging from politicians to military and intelligence officials, who are subject to arrest abroad, should the ICC officially open the war crimes investigation.

Names begin at the top of the Israeli political pyramid, among them Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his current coalition partner, Benny Gantz.

The sheer number of Israeli officials on the list is indicative of the scope of the ICC’s investigation, and, somehow, is a self-indictment, as the names include former Israeli Defense Ministers – Moshe Ya’alon, Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett; current and former army chiefs of staffs – Aviv Kochavi, Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot and current and former heads of internal intelligence, the Shin Bet – Nadav Argaman and Yoram Cohen.

Respected international human rights organizations have already, repeatedly, accused all these individuals of serious human rights abuses during Israel’s lethal wars on the besieged Gaza Strip, starting with the so-called ‘Operation Cast Lead’ in 2008-9.

But the list is far more extensive, as it covers “people in much more junior positions, including lower-ranking military officers and, perhaps, even officials involved in issuing various types of permits to settlements and settlement outposts.”

Israel, thus, fully appreciates the fact that the international community still insists that the construction of illegal colonies in occupied Palestine, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and the transfer of Israeli citizens to occupied land are all inadmissible under international law and tantamount to war crimes. Netanyahu must be disappointed to learn that all of Washington’s concessions to Israel under Trump’s presidency have failed to alter the position of the international community and the applicability of international law in any way.

Furthermore, it would not be an exaggeration to argue that Tel Aviv’s postponement of its plan to illegally annex nearly a third of the West Bank is directly linked to the ICC’s investigation, for the annexation would have completely thwarted Israel’s friends’ efforts aimed at preventing the investigation from ever taking place.

While the whole world, especially Palestinians, Arabs and their allies, still anxiously await the final decision by the Pre-Trial Chamber, Israel will continue its overt and covert campaign to intimidate the ICC and any other entity that aims to expose Israeli war crimes and to try Israeli war criminals.

Washington, too, will continue to strive to ensure Netanyahu, Gantz, and the “200 to 300” other Israeli officials never see their day in court.

However, the fact that a “secret list” exists is an indication that Tel Aviv understands that this era is different and that international law, which has failed Palestinians for over 70 years, may, for once, deliver, however a small measure of justice.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press, Atlanta). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Istanbul Zaim University (IZU).

July 29, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

War Crimes and War Criminals: Who Will Be Held Accountable?

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | July 23, 2020

There is something unique about how the United States manipulates the “terrorism” label to avoid being accused of carrying out war crimes. When an indigenous militia or an armed insurgency like the Taliban in a country like Iraq or Afghanistan attacks American soldiers subsequent to a U.S. invasion which overthrew the country’s government, it is considered by Washington to be an act of “terrorism.” Terror attacks de facto permit a carte blanche response, allowing virtually anything as retaliation against the parties involved or countries that support them, including the assassination of foreign government officials. But for the attacker, whose perspective is quite different, the incident often could reasonably be described as legitimate resistance to a foreign occupier and much of the world might agree with that assessment.

So, it all comes down to definitions. The United States covers its version of reality through liberal use of the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) which more-or-less gives a blanket approval to attack and kill “terrorists” anywhere at any time. And how does one become a terrorist? By being included on the U.S. government’s heavily politicized annual list of terrorist groups and material supporters of terrorism. That was the argument that was used by the United States when it killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in January, that his organization, the Qods Force, was on the “terrorist” lists maintained by State and the Treasury Department and he was therefore held to be guilty of any and all attacks on U.S. military carried out by Qods or by presumed Iranian surrogate militias.

The case made to justify killing Soleimani was considered deeply flawed at the time it took place. Because the United States says something is legal due to a law Congress has passed does not make it so, just as most of the world would consider the U.S. profile killings by drone in Afghanistan and elsewhere, based on nothing more than the assumption that someone on the ground might be a “terrorist,” to be little more than war crimes.

It has recently been revealed that the Trump Administration has issued a so-called “finding” to authorize the CIA to conduct more aggressive cyberattacks against infrastructure and other targets in countries that are considered to be unfriendly. The finding specifically named Iran, North Korea, China and Russia as approved targets and it is of particular interest because it basically left it up to the Agency to decide whom to attack and to what degree. As Washington is not at war with any of the countries named and is essentially seeking to damage their economies directly, the activity undertaken by CIA has constituted acts of war and, by widely accepted legal definition, attacks on countries that are not actually threatening are war crimes.

To counter the negative publicity about Trump Administration actions and to establish a possible casus belli, Washington has been floating numerous stories alleging Iranian, Russian and Chinese “aggression.” The ridiculous story about Russia paying Afghans bounties to kill American soldiers was quickly debunked, so the White House and the captive media are now alleging that Moscow hacker/spies are seeking to steal proprietary information dealing with the development of a coronavirus vaccine. The agitprop coming out of Washington to blame Russia for nearly everything notwithstanding, opinion polls suggest that most of the world considers Washington to be the primary source of global instability, rejecting the assertion by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the U.S. is a “force for good.”

So, it is reasonable to suggest that the United States has been guilty of many war crimes in the past twenty years and has only been shielded from the consequences due to its ability to control the message combined with its power in international fora and its unwillingness to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague.

But the willingness of the international community to look the other way in support of the war crimes double standard appears to be changing. The ICC, which has had its investigators denied entry to the United States, has been investigating Israeli war crimes even as it also looks at developments in Afghanistan and Iraq involving U.S. forces. Trump’s ban on entry by ICC personnel includes their families even if they are American citizens and it also protects Israel in that ICC investigators looking into the possible war crimes committed by Israeli soldiers and officers as well as the relevant Jewish state’s government officials will also be sanctioned and denied entry into the U.S. In practical terms, the Trump Administration is declaring that Israeli and U.S. soldiers will be regarded as one and the same as they relate to dealings with the ICC, a conceit that is little known to the American public.

The Israelis have responded to the threat from the ICC by compiling a secret list of government officials and military officers who might be subject to ICC issued arrest warrants if they travel in Europe for war crimes committed in Lebanon and Syria as well as of crimes against humanity directed against Palestinians. The list reportedly includes between 200 and 300 names.

That Israel is making a list of people who might be vulnerable to accusations of having possibly committed war crimes is a de facto admission by the government that such crimes were in fact committed. The ICC will soon decide whether to move on the December request by ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to investigate both Israel and Hamas over suspicions of war crimes in Gaza and Jerusalem as well as on the occupied West Bank beginning in 2014. The investigation would include “crimes allegedly committed in relation to the use by members of the IDF of non-lethal and lethal means against persons participating in demonstrations beginning in March 2018 near the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, which reportedly resulted in the killing of over 200 individuals, including over 40 children, and the wounding of thousands of others.”

Given the time frame, Israeli government officials and military officers would likely be the first to face scrutiny by investigators. According to Haaretz, the list would almost certainly include “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; former defense ministers Moshe Ya’alon, Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett; former Israel Defense Forces chiefs of staff Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, and current Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi; and the former and current heads of the Shin Bet security service, Yoram Cohen and Nadav Argaman, respectively.”

One wonders who would be included on a comparable list for the United States. There are a lot of lying politicians and sly generals to choose from. As both Israel and the United States do not recognize the authority of the ICC and will almost certainly refuse to participate in any fashion if the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity ever actually make it to the court, any discussion of lists are at this point merely travel advisories for war criminals. The United States will push back and will inter alia certainly attempt to discredit the court using whatever weapons are available, to include sanctions against the nations that support any investigation and trial.

One nevertheless has to hope that the court will persevere in its effort to expose the crimes that continue to be committed by the U.S. and Israel in both Palestine and Afghanistan. Embarrassing Washington and Jerusalem in a very visible and highly respected international forum might be the only way to change the direction of the two nations that more than any other insist that “might makes right.”

July 23, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel’s list of compromised officials suggests their guilt of war crimes

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | July 21, 2020

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has adjourned without issuing its ruling on whether Israeli officials will be tried for war crimes against the Palestinian people since 2014, when Gaza was destroyed during “Operation Protective Edge”. With an extended timeframe until the ruling is due, Israel now has additional time to prepare for any eventual action taken by The Hague. It has apparently already drawn up a list of officials who might be liable to be prosecuted for war crimes.

According to Haaretz, the list contains the names of 200-300 Israeli officials, most probably including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Benny Gantz. The list has been drawn up in utmost secrecy, not least because, as Haaretz points out, “The court is likely to view a list of names as an official Israeli admission of these officials’ involvement in the incidents under investigation.” The existence of the list alone is likely to be viewed as such.

However, what needs to change at an international level is the endorsement of Israel’s security narrative. The ICC’s clear mention of war crimes, as opposed to alleged war crimes – the latter being a phrase which many human rights organisations have used and through which Israeli impunity has also been cultivated – should prompt a new reckoning of Israel’s standing and its state violence.

During that 2014 military offensive against the Palestinians in Gaza, the international community was quick to promote “Israel’s right to defend itself” even as Palestinian civilians were being slaughtered. So far, the UN has never considered Palestinians as anything other than a statistical detail supporting its purported humanitarian endeavours.

The fact of the matter is that Israel is a colonial entity, but this has been eliminated from international diplomatic discourse, to the detriment of the Palestinian people. Hence the discrepancies when speaking of Israel’s perpetual violations against the Palestinians; by refusing to include the colonial-settler context, the international community eliminates the foundations of what have now been described clearly as war crimes by the ICC.

The list itself suggests guilt, admitted more or less openly by the very fact of its compilation. While the criminal investigations are down to the competence of the ICC, it rests with the international community to see them through to their conclusion, rather than simply parroting Israel’s excuses for its violence. The planned annexation of the occupied West Bank is a case in point. Israeli officials are concerned that implementing the annexation plans will be detrimental to Israel, especially given that settlement expansion is being considered as the strongest evidence of war crimes. The international community, however, has still failed to unite against the possibility of additional war crimes being committed against the Palestinian people, and limited its response to repeated statements that annexation is against international law.

Israel has never, ever, heeded such statements. The possibility of ICC investigations, however, is exposing the fact that Israel knows it has committed war crimes and is preparing to shield the perpetrators from international prosecution. If the UN is truly concerned with safeguarding human rights, it should seize the opportunity to refrain from further endorsement and dissemination of Israel’s security and “self-defence” narrative, which itself violates international law. It should adopt a strong stance against Israel and its annexation plan, and stand by the ICC’s clear admission that colonial expansion is a war crime. The UN, however, cannot do so without taking into account its own complicity in maintaining Israel’s colonial violence, hence the absence of a consistent human rights narrative which would support a possible criminal investigation at an international level.

July 21, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Israel creates list of officials to prevent arrests for war crimes

MEMO | July 16, 2020

Israel is preparing a secret list of hundreds of its officials who are liable to be tried in The Hague on war crimes charges, it has been revealed. The government is warning them not to travel in case they are arrested.

According to Haaretz, the list has the names of between 200 and 300 military and intelligence officials who could be arrested and put on trial for war crimes committed against civilians in the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The report comes amid news of the International Criminal Court (ICC) possibly opening an investigation into war crimes committed by both Israel and Hamas, starting from the Israeli military offensive on Gaza in 2014, known as “Operation Protective Edge”. The request for the trial was made by ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

The list was supposed to be kept secret due to the danger it could pose to the officials whose names it contains. It could also be viewed by the ICC as an admission of guilt. Those on the list include Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; former Defence Ministers Moshe Ya’alon, Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett; former Chiefs of Staff Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, and current Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, as well as the former and current heads of the Shin Bet intelligence agency, Yoram Cohen and Nadav Argaman respectively.

It is suspected that the remainder could be more junior officers and officials, including those who approved the building of Jewish-only settlements within the occupied West Bank. Such settlements are illegal under international law and are one of the subjects of the ICC investigation.

The future of the investigation is to be decided by Judges Peter Kovacs of Hungary, Marc Perrin de Brichambaut of France and Reine Adelaide Sophie Alapini-Gansou of Benin. It will also depend on whether the court has jurisdiction over the areas where the war crimes were committed, which include the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Israel insists that the ICC has no such authority or jurisdiction in those areas, as the Palestinian Authority (PA) is not a sovereign state.

This has led many observers to predict that Israel will refuse to cooperate with the ICC, which could result in the court ordering secret detention orders and warrants against the Israeli officials. This would limit their ability to travel and keep Israel unaware of the court proceedings.

If an investigation into alleged war crimes is opened, Israel’s illegal annexation plans for the West Bank could also have a serious impact on any defence that it might mount. Bensouda has included this factor in her preliminary investigation.

The threat of an ICC investigation into Israel’s and America’s alleged war crimes has been criticised by both countries. US President Donald Trump imposed sanctions on the court last month, a move praised by Israel. Nevertheless, the ICC has received further complaints about alleged Israeli and US war crimes over the past month, strengthening the case for a formal investigation.

July 16, 2020 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Will the ICC Investigation Bring Justice for Palestine?

By Ramzy Baroud & Romana Rubeo | Palestine Chronicle | June 29, 2020

In the past, there have been many attempts at holding accused Israeli war criminals accountable. Particularly memorable is the case of the late Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, (known, among other nicknames, as the ‘Butcher of Sabra and Shatila’) whose victims attempted to try him in a Belgian Court in 2002.

Like all other efforts, the Belgian case was dropped under American pressure. History seems to be repeating itself.

On December 20, the International Court of Justice (ICC) Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, resolved that she had sufficient evidence to investigate alleged war crimes committed in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. The ICC’s unprecedented decision concluded that there were “no substantial reasons to believe that an investigation would not serve the interests of justice”.

As soon as Bensouda made her decision, although after much delay, the US administration swiftly moved to block the Court’s attempt at holding Israeli officials accountable. On June 11, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order slapping sanctions on members of the global judicial body, citing the ICC’s investigations of US war crimes in Afghanistan and Israeli war crimes in Palestine.

Will the US succeed, once more, in blocking another international investigation?

On June 19, we spoke to Dr. Triestino Mariniello, a member of the legal team representing the Gaza victims before the ICC. Mariniello is also a Senior Lecturer at the John Moore University in Liverpool, UK.

There has been much doubt about whether the ICC was serious, willing or capable of pushing this case forward. Later, technical questions arose regarding the ICC’s jurisdiction over occupied Palestine. Have we moved beyond these doubts?

Last December, the Prosecutor decided to ask the Pre-Trial Chamber the following question: “Does the ICC have jurisdiction, that is to say, is Palestine a State under the Rome Statute –  not, in general, under international law, but at least under the founding Statute of the ICC? And, if yes, what is the territorial jurisdiction of the Court?”

The Prosecutor argued that the Court has jurisdiction over crimes committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza. This request to the Pre-Trial Chamber was not necessary, for a very simple reason: because the situation is being referred by the State of Palestine. So, when a State party refers a situation to the Prosecutor, the Prosecutor does not need authorization by the Pre-Trial Chamber. But let us analyze things within a wider context.

The formal engagement of the State of Palestine with the ICC began in 2009, following the Gaza war (“Operation Cast Lead”). At the time, Palestine had already accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC. It took more than two years for the former Prosecutor to decide whether Palestine was a State or not. After three years, he said: We don’t know if Palestine is a State, so we don’t know if we can accept the jurisdiction of the ICC. Thereafter, this question was raised before the UN General Assembly and the Assembly of State Parties. In other words, they delegated the answer to political bodies, and not to the Pre-Trial Chamber.

That investigation was never conducted and we never had justice for the victims of that war.

In 2015, Palestine accepted the jurisdiction of the Court, and it also became a State Party. Still, the Pre-Trial Chamber decided to involve a number of states, civil society organizations, NGOs, scholars and experts to ask them the question: Is Palestine a State under the Rome Statute? The response was, The Pre-Trial Chamber will decide on this, after it receives the views of the victims, of states, of civil society organizations … and it will decide in the next few weeks or months.

Aside from the Trump Administration, other Western countries, such as Germany and Australia, are lobbying at the ICC to drop the investigation altogether. Will they succeed?

There are at least eight countries that are openly against an investigation of the Palestinian situation. Germany is one. Some of the others came as a surprise, to be honest, for at least four other countries, Uganda, Brazil, Czech Republic, and Hungary had explicitly recognized that Palestine is a State under international law, yet are now submitting statements before the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber saying that this is not true anymore.

Of course, the issue is a little bit more complex, but the substance is, these countries are raising political arguments before the ICC which have no legal basis. It is surprising that these states, on the one hand, claim to be supportive of an independent International Criminal Court, but on the other hand, are trying to exercise political pressure (on that very legal body).

On June 11, Trump signed an executive order in which he imposed sanctions on individuals associated with the ICC. Can the US and its allies block the ICC investigation? 

The answer is “no”. Trump’s administration is putting pressure on the ICC. By pressure, we mainly refer to the Afghanistan situation, and also to the Israeli-Palestinian situation. So, every time there is a statement by Trump or Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo in relation to the ICC, they never forget to mention the Afghanistan case.

In fact, the Prosecutor is also investigating alleged war crimes committed by CIA members and US soldiers. So far, this pressure has not been particularly effective. In the case of Afghanistan, the Appeal Chamber has directly authorized the Prosecutor to start an investigation, amending a decision taken by the Pre-Trial Chamber.

Successive US administrations have never been very supportive of the ICC, and the major problem in Rome when the Statute was drafted in 1998 was specifically regarding the role of the Prosecutor. The US opposed, from the beginning, an independent role of the Prosecutor, where the Prosecutor could start an investigation without the authorization of the UN Security Council. This opposition goes back to the Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations.

Now, though, we are witnessing an unprecedented situation, with the US administration willing to issue economic sanctions and visa restrictions to individuals associated with the ICC and, perhaps, to other organizations as well.

Article 5 of the Rome Statute – the founding document of the ICC – has an extended definition of what constitutes ‘serious crimes’, that being the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.  It could be argued, then, that Israel should be held accountable for all of these ‘serious crimes’. Yet, the ICC opted for what is known as the ‘narrow scope’, thus the investigation will only be looking at the single component of war crimes. Why is that?

If we look at the request by the Prosecutor to the Pre-Trial Chamber, particularly paragraph 94, surprisingly, the scope of the investigation is quite narrow, and the victims know that. It only includes (as part of its investigation into war crimes) some incidents related to the Gaza war of 2014, crimes committed within the context of the ‘Great March of Return’, and the (illegal) Jewish settlements.

It is surprising not to see any reference to the alleged committing of ‘crimes against humanity’, which, as victims say, is widely documented. There is no reference to the systematic attacks put in place by Israeli authorities against the civilian population in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem or in Gaza. The ‘narrow scope’, which excludes crimes against humanity, is something the Prosecutor should look back into. The overall situation in Gaza is largely ignored; there is no reference to the 14-year long siege; there is no reference to the overall victims of the Gaza war in 2014.

That said, the scope of the investigation is not binding for the future. The Prosecutor can decide, at any moment, to include other crimes. We hope it will happen because, otherwise, many victims will never get justice.

But why is Gaza being excluded? Is it because of the way that the Palestinians presented the case or the way the ICC has interpreted the Palestinian case?

I do not think that the blame should be placed on the Palestinians, because the Palestinian organizations submitted (a massive amount of) evidence. I think it is a prosecutorial strategy at this stage, and we hope this will change in the future, particularly with reference to the situation in Gaza, where even the overall number of victims has been overlooked. More than 1,600 civilians were killed, including women and children.

In my personal opinion, there are several references to the concept of conflict itself. The word ‘conflict’ relies on the presumption that there are two parties that are fighting each other on the same level and there is not enough attention given to the Israeli occupation itself.

Additionally, all the crimes committed against Palestinian prisoners have not been included, such as torture and inhumane and degrading treatment. Also not included is Apartheid as a crime against humanity. Again, there is massive evidence that these crimes are committed against Palestinians. We hope that there will be a different approach in the future.

Walk us through the various scenarios and timelines that could result from the ICC investigation. What should we expect? 

I think if we look at the possible scenarios from the perspective of the Rome Statute, of the law which is binding, I do not think that the judges have any other option but to confirm to the Prosecutor that Palestine is a State under the Rome Statute and that the territorial jurisdiction includes the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.

I would find it very surprising if the judges reach any other conclusion. The Palestinian State was ratified in 2015, so you cannot go back to the Palestinians and say: No, you are not a member anymore. Meanwhile, Palestine has taken part in the Assembly of State Parties, is a member of the Supervisory Committee of the ICC, and has participated in important decisions.

The likelihood is that the Prosecutor will receive a green light by the Pre-Trial Chamber. If this does not happen, the Prosecutor can (still) move forward with the investigation.

Other possible scenarios can only be negative ones because they would prevent the victims from getting any justice. The reason that the case is at the ICC is because these victims have never received any justice before domestic courts: the State of Palestine is unable to try Israeli nationals, while Israeli authorities are unwilling to try individuals who have committed international crimes.

If the ICC judges decide not to accept the jurisdiction over war crimes committed in Palestine, this would prevent victims from having access to the only possibility of getting justice.

A particularly dangerous scenario would be the decision by the judges to confirm the ICC jurisdiction over some parts of the Palestinian territory while excluding others, which has no legal ground under international law. It would be very dangerous, because it would give international legitimacy to all the unlawful measures that Israeli authorities – and now even the Trump Administration – are putting in place, including the (illegal) annexation plan.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press, Atlanta). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Istanbul Zaim University (IZU). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

 – Romana Rubeo is an Italian writer and the managing editor of The Palestine Chronicle. Her articles appeared in many online newspapers and academic journals. She holds a Master’s Degree in Foreign Languages and Literature, and specializes in audio-visual and journalism translation. 

June 29, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 5 Comments

International Criminal Court Expresses Regret Over US Sanctions, Vows to Continue Work

Sputnik – June 12, 2020

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has expressed regret over the US decision to target its officials with sanctions and expressed determination to continue its work.

“The International Criminal Court expresses profound regret at the announcement of further threats and coercive actions, including financial measures, against the Court and its officials, made earlier today by the Government of the United States”, the ICC said in a statement on late Thursday.

According to the Court’s statement, the US move is one of a series of unprecedented attacks on the ICC and on the Rome Statute system of international criminal justice, which reflects the commitment and cooperation of the ICC’s 123 States Parties.

“The ICC stands firmly by its staff and officials and remains unwavering in its commitment to discharging, independently and impartially, the mandate bestowed upon it by the Rome Statute and the States that are party to it”, the statement added. “An attack on the ICC also represents an attack against the interests of victims of atrocity crimes, for many of whom the Court represents the last hope for justice. As it continues to meet its mandated responsibilities, the Court relies on the staunch support and cooperation of its States Parties”.

On Thursday, the White House announced that US President Donald Trump had issued an executive order authorizing sanctions against ICC officials who are investigating potential war crimes committed by US soldiers in Afghanistan.

In March, the International Criminal Court (ICC) approved the commencement of an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by parties to the Afghan conflict, including US military personnel.

June 12, 2020 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Trump admin sanctions International Criminal Court officials investigating US war crimes

RT | June 11, 2020

The Donald Trump administration is imposing economic sanctions on International Criminal Court officials who are engaged with “any effort” to investigate or prosecute US personnel for war crimes.

In a statement on Thursday, the White House press office said President Donald Trump has also authorized the “expansion of visa restrictions” against ICC officials and their family members.

The US has repeatedly threatened to impose sanctions on the Hague-based court and asserted that it has no right to investigate or prosecute US personnel without Washington’s consent.

The White House statement described the court’s actions as “an attack on the rights of the American people” and a threat to “infringe upon our national sovereignty.”

It added that the ICC was established “to provide accountability for war crimes” but said “in practice” it had become “unaccountable and ineffective.”

Efforts by the ICC to investigate allegations of war crimes by Israel against Palestinians have also drawn ire from the Trump administration.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued in May that Palestine does not “qualify as a sovereign state” and that the court cannot conduct “illegitimate” investigations against Israel. He threatened that the US would “exact consequences” if the court continued its efforts to investigate alleged crimes.

In the Thursday statement, the White House said the ICC was pursuing “politically-motivated investigations” against the US and its allies “including Israel.”

Without offering evidence, the statement said the US was concerned that “adversary nations are manipulating” the court by “encouraging” allegations against American personnel.

It claimed there is “strong reason to believe” that there is “corruption and misconduct” at the “highest levels” of the court which call its integrity into question.

June 11, 2020 Posted by | War Crimes | , | 3 Comments