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Resources updated between Monday, February 01, 2021 and Sunday, February 07, 2021

February 6, 2021

"Today's decision by the ICC distorts international law and turns this institution into a political tool of anti-Israel propaganda. The ICC has no jurisdiction to deliberate the Palestinian case. The State of Israel is a robust democracy with an independent and effective legal system that is deeply respected all over the world. The judges' decision rewards Palestinian terrorism, as well as the refusal of the Palestinian Authority to return to direct negotiations with Israel, and will further polarize both sides. We call on all countries that value the international legal system, and object to its political exploitation, to respect the sovereign rights of states and to choose not to consent to the Court's jurisdiction. The State of Israel will take every necessary measure to protect its citizens."

Statement by H.E. Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi on anti-Israel ICC decision Document

"Today the ICC proved once again that it is a political body and not a judicial institution. The ICC ignores the real war crimes and instead pursues the State of Israel, a state with a strong democracy that sanctifies the rule of law, and is not a member of the ICC. In this decision, the ICC violated the right of democracies to defend themselves against terrorism, and played into the hands of those who undermine efforts to expand the circle of peace. We will continue to protect our citizens and soldiers in every way from legal persecution."

Statement by H.E. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on anti-Israel ICC decision Document

The International Criminal Court

"It is both tragic and ironic that the State of Israel, one of the founding fathers of the vision of creating an independent International Criminal Court after the unimaginable atrocities committed against the Jewish People during the Holocaust, has now become the target of that very International Criminal Court.

As one of the leading countries actively involved, from the start, in the negotiation and drafting of the founding document-the Statute of the ICC, it is all the more ironic that Israel now finds itself being accused by the Court based on Palestinian political manipulation.

What was intended to be an independent juridical body devoted to preventing impunity enjoyed by the most serious and atrocious war criminals, by bringing them to justice, is now being politically manipulated against the one state that since the early 1950s has consistently advocated the establishment of such a body, the State of Israel.

The irony is all the more evident given the legal acrobatics by the politically oriented and politically influenced prosecutor of the Court and the majority of judges of the Pre-Trial Chamber, in their obstinate and flawed insistence on attributing elements of statehood and sovereignty to a Palestinian entity that is distinctly, and by all international standards, not a state.

Nor does such entity have any sovereign territory, and thus, even according to the Statute of the ICC, cannot be the subject of the Court's jurisdiction. The Palestinians have absolutely no standing in the court.

This ironic situation is not surprising given the prevailing international atmosphere of incitement and hostility towards Israel throughout the UN system.

However, what is shocking is the fact that the one international juridical institution that was hoped and intended by its founders, and stated in its founding document, to be "an independent, permanent International Criminal Court...with jurisdiction over the most serious crimes of concern to the international communityas a whole", has allowed itself to be politically manipulated and abused.

What was intended to be an a-political juridical body, devoid of political pressure and influence, has now permitted itself to become one more "Israel-bashing body" at the disposal of those elements in the international community seeking to undermine Israel's legitimacy.

In so doing, the Court has irreparably prejudiced any juridical integrity, credibility and bona fides that it might have had.

This decision by the Court's Pre-Trial Chamber to accept the contention of the prosecutor, based purely on non-binding and un-authoritative political resolutions of the UN General Assembly, that the Court can exercise jurisdiction over disputed territory that is in the midst of an internationally recognized dispute-settlement process, defies all legal logic.

This is all the more illogical given the fact that the State of Israel is not party to the Rome Statute.

Since the ICC Statute is open to sovereign states only, and since no sovereign Palestinian state exists, and since there exists no Palestinian territory over which the Court could exercise its jurisdiction, the Pretrial Chamber, by any legal logic, should have rejected the contentions of the prosecutor.

In light of the fact that the territories subject of the Palestinian referrals to the Court, are under an agreed and internationally accepted dispute-settlement and negotiation process, the Pretrial Chamber of the ICC, by any legal logic, should have rejected the contentions of the prosecutor, rather than attempt to prejudge and undermine the outcome of the negotiating process by determining that there exists sovereign Palestinian territory.

Sadly, and regrettably, this decision not only irreparably harms the integrity and credibility of the ICC, but it also has the potential to undermine and derail the Middle East peace negotiating process, since the Court, at the behest of its prosecutor, is attempting to prejudge the outcome of that process, contrary to all historic and legal logic.

The hijacking, abuse and manipulation of the ICC is the antithesis of the vision of its founding fathers, the states and the international legal experts that devoted so much time, effort, and enthusiasm to establishing a genuinely objective juridical body."

The flawed ICC Pre-trial Chamber decision to Recognize ICC Jurisdiction over the Territories: An irreparable stain on the ICC Document

February 5, 2021

Reine Adélaďde Sophie Alapini-Gansou (File photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

ICC Judge from Benin: Ruling on the "Rule of Law" from a Country Without the Rule of Law Article

"Today, 5 February 2021, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or "Court") decided, by majority, that the Court's territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in Palestine, a State party to the ICC Rome Statute, extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

On 20 December 2019, the ICC Prosecutor announced the conclusion of the preliminary examination of the Situation in Palestine. The Prosecutor determined that all the statutory criteria under the Rome Statute for the opening of an investigation have been met. A decision on opening the investigation in this situation is in the remit of the ICC Prosecutor. On 22 January 2020, the Prosecutor seized the Chamber under article 19(3) of the Rome Statute, requesting a ruling only on the scope of the Court's territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in the State of Palestine.

In today's decision, Pre-Trial Chamber I recalled that the ICC is not constitutionally competent to determine matters of statehood that would bind the international community. By ruling on the territorial scope of its jurisdiction, the Chamber is neither adjudicating a border dispute under international law nor prejudging the question of any future borders. The Chamber's ruling is for the sole purpose of defining the Court's territorial jurisdiction.

Pre-Trial Chamber I examined the Prosecutor's request as well as the submissions of other States, organisations and scholars who participated as amicus curiae and groups of victims. The Chamber held that, in accordance with the ordinary meaning given to its terms in their context and in the light of the object and purpose of the Statute, the reference to '[t]he State on the territory of which the conduct in question occurred' in article 12(2)(a) of the Statute must be interpreted as a reference to a State Party to the Rome Statute. The Chamber found that, regardless of its status under general international law, Palestine's accession to the Statute followed the correct and ordinary procedure and that the Chamber has no authority to challenge and review the outcome of the accession procedure conducted by the Assembly of States Parties. Palestine has thus agreed to subject itself to the terms of the ICC Rome Statute and has the right to be treated as any other State Party for the matters related to the implementation of the Statute.

Pre-Trial Chamber I noted that, among similarly worded resolutions, the General Assembly of the United Nations in Resolution 67/19 "[reaffirmed] the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967". On this basis, the majority, composed of Judge Reine Adélaďde Sophie Alapini-Gansou and Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, found that the Court's territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in Palestine extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

In addition, the Chamber found, by majority, that the arguments regarding the Oslo Agreements, and its clauses limiting the scope of Palestinian jurisdiction, are not pertinent to the resolution of the issue of the Court's territorial jurisdiction in Palestine. Such matters and other further questions on jurisdiction may be examined when and if the Prosecutor submits an application for the issuance of a warrant of arrest or summons to appear.

Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut appended a partly separate opinion on the reasons for which article 19(3) of the Statute is applicable in the present situation. Judge Péter Kovács, Presiding Judge, appended a partly dissenting opinion, in which he disagrees on the fact that Palestine qualifies as '[t]he State on the territory of which the conduct in question occurred' for the purposes of article 12(2)(a) of the Statute, and that the Court's territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in Palestine extends – in a quasi-automatic manner and without any restrictions – to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem."

Press Release: ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I issues its decision on the Prosecutor's request related to territorial jurisdiction over "Palestine" Development

A handout picture released by British police showing what are believed to be two Russian security agents involved in the attempted poisoning in Salisbury of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in 2018.

Russia, Iran Among Leading States Practicing Repression Abroad, Says Rights Watchdog Document

February 4, 2021

A protest in support of Alexei Navalny (File photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Women protesting Alexei Navalny's sentence reportedly forced to strip Document

February 3, 2021

United Nations Headquarters (File photo)

President Biden, end U.N. indecency towards Israel Article

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny (File photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

A Russian court sentenced Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to 3˝ years in prison, but gave credit for about a year already served, sidelining the country's most prominent opposition politician and likely fueling a burgeoning protest movement triggered by his detention last month.

Mr. Navalny, who was kept in a glass cage throughout the hearing, laughed to himself as the judge read the lengthy verdict. He drew a heart with his finger and looked at his wife, Yulia, as the judge neared the end of the sentencing.

During his testimony, the opposition politician blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for a poisoning attack against him last year and called the court proceedings an act of cowardice. Striking at the image of Mr. Putin as a master strategist, he said the Kremlin leader never fought his enemies fairly.

"[Putin's] only method is killing people," Mr. Navalny said. "For as much as he pretends to be a great geopolitician, he'll go down in history as a poisoner."

Following the verdict, Mr. Navalny's supporters gathered in downtown Moscow, at times within earshot of the Kremlin, to protest the court decision. Riot police, who had been deployed there for much of the day, used batons to disperse them as demonstrators fled past luxury-brand stores.

Between those detained for protesting outside the courthouse and others taken into custody for demonstrating in downtown Moscow and in other cities, more than 1,400 people were detained on Tuesday and early Wednesday, according to OVD-Info, an independent law-enforcement monitoring group.

Russian prosecutors say Mr. Navalny violated conditions of a suspended sentence from 2014 by failing to check in regularly with prison authorities while he was recovering in Germany from a near-fatal poison attack last year. The 3˝-year sentence credits the time Mr. Navalny served under house arrest, leaving him to serve 32 months behind bars.

The sentence temporarily removes a longtime thorn in the Kremlin's side, an opposition leader who aimed to unseat the ruling United Russia in parliamentary elections later this year. But the backlash could test Mr. Putin's ability to counter rising criticism from the U.S. and Europe over the case and complicate his attempts to quell the biggest nationwide street protests in almost a decade.

Over the past two weeks, since Mr. Navalny was taken into custody upon his return to Russia, the opposition politician's followers have united with a broad coalition of middle-class and middle-aged Russians angered by falling living standards and shrinking political freedoms.

Nearly 6,000 people were detained in a show of force across the country on Sunday, according to OVD-Info, the most in one day in Russia's recent history.

"Mr. Navalny's sentencing will provide more fuel in the coming weeks for protesters," said Denis Volkov, a sociologist at Moscow-based pollster Levada. "What happens after that no one knows."

In a tense courtroom exchange, Alexander Yermolenko, a top officer at the Federal Penitentiary Service, which initiated the legal move against Mr. Navalny, said the agency had no idea where the Kremlin critic was late last year and that he wasn't at his registered address.

"You had to present documents laying out respectable reasons for your failure to appear at parole inspections" he said, according to a court transcript.

Mr. Navalny said the prison service had his address in Germany, all necessary contact information and updates about his outpatient treatment. "What more could I have done?" he said.

A Russian court in 2014 gave Mr. Navalny a suspended 3˝-year sentence in an extortion case. He had been on parole since, despite a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights that the case was political.

Mr. Navalny's legal troubles threaten to further complicate relations between Washington and Moscow. President Biden brought up the case in his first phone call with Mr. Putin last month. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Mr. Navalny had been detained for exercising his human rights and demanded his release.

The Russian government has rebuffed comments from Western leaders over Mr. Navalny's case, saying they are actively interfering in the country's affairs. Russian officials have tried to characterize their public support as proof that Mr. Navalny and his supporters are agents of the West, which wants to destabilize Russia.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharov said approximately 20 representatives of Western embassies were at the courthouse on Tuesday.

"It's not just interference in internal affairs of a sovereign state," she said on Facebook. "It's laying bare the unsightly and illegal role of the collective West in attempts to constrain Russia."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said no amount of external pressure would affect the work of the court. Mr. Putin, who goes to lengths to dismiss the opposition politician, including by refusing to say his name, didn't follow the trial, Mr. Peskov said.

While Mr. Navalny's sentence may fan opposition sentiment in the short term, his absence from the political landscape could see his movement, which he spent years building across the country, slowly degrade.

"His followers across the country, they can still carry on with their jobs, but this is a movement with a leader and without him we can see it perhaps slowly start to fracture," said Alexander Baunov, an analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center.

For years, Mr. Navalny angered authorities by exposing corruption and excess in Kremlin circles but managed to stay out of prison through a combination of legal finesse and support among his followers, who have taken to the streets repeatedly to protest previous legal actions against him.

In 2013, Mr. Navalny was released from jail-in a different case against him-after thousands of his supporters protested in front of the Kremlin. Some friends of the opposition politician said he hoped similar demonstrations would see charges against him dropped.

Russian authorities announced the legal move to turn Mr. Navalny's suspended sentence into real jail time in December, even when he was still in Germany. Shortly after, Russian investigators announced they had opened an investigation into him on fraud allegations.

Mr. Navalny said the moves were attempts to scare him away from returning to Russia, but he promised to go back nonetheless. On Jan. 17, shortly after his flight touched down at a Moscow airport, he was led away by Russian officers.

Alexei Navalny, Russian Opposition Politician, Given 3˝-Year Sentence Document

February 2, 2021

President Joe Biden (Photo courtesy social media)

Biden administration 'embraces' international definition of antisemitism Article

February 1, 2021

The city of Tehran (File photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Iran last Thursday continued its execution spree of elite athletes with the killing of champion boxer and prominent sports coach Ali Mutairi.

The UN condemned the execution of Mutairi in Sheiban Prison, located in Khuzestan Province. Mutairi, 30, endured severe torture, which led to his false confession that he had killed two Basij militia members in 2018, activists and family members said.

"We strongly condemn the series of executions, at least 28, since mid-December, including people from minority groups," a UN spokeswoman told The Jerusalem Post on Friday. "We urge the authorities to halt the imminent execution of Javid Dehghan; to review his and other death-penalty cases in line with human-rights law. We continue to engage with the authorities in Iran on the issues of executions and the death penalty."

Rob Koehler, director-general of Global Athlete, an international advocacy group for Olympic athletes, told the Post: "The International Olympic Committee must act now. Their silence has left them complicit. Their lack of action clearly indicates they favor stakeholders over athlete rights."

"The tragic recent execution of boxer Ali Mutairi is the third athlete in just four months that has been murdered by the Iranian government," he said. "The IOC must immediately suspend the Iran National Olympic Committee. They can no longer neglect their duty of care; athletes' lives are at stake."

The Post sent a press query to the IOC.

"Ali Motairi, a terrorist member of the ISIS group, attacked the Basij base," resulting in the deaths of two Basij members, the Khuzestan Justice Department was quoted as saying by Islamic Republic News Agency, which reported the news in Persian.

Local sources did not confirm the regime's allegations of Mutairi's membership in ISIS, according to Iran International, a UK-based Persian television station.

Journalist Hussain Abdul-Hussain tweeted: "Iran regime executed opposition activist Ali Mutairi. Don't expect the UN Human Rights Council to fly an investigation commission to Iran."

According to human-rights activists, Mutairi was "physically and mentally tortured in the detention center of an intelligence agency, and after being transferred to Sheiban Prison, he was severely harassed in solitary confinement by prison officials," Iran International reported in Persian.

Last September, human-rights organizations and Western governments said Iran's regime brutally tortured champion wrestler Navid Afkari to frame him on a charge of killing a Basij security guard who was tracking protesters during demonstrations against the regime in 2018. The regime hanged Afkari for his peaceful protest against regime corruption, according to Iranian human-rights experts and the US government.

Then-presidential candidate Joe Biden tweeted: "Iran's cruel execution of Navid Afkari is a travesty. No country should arrest, torture, or execute peaceful protestors or activists."

In January, the clerical regime executed a second champion wrestler, Mehdi Ali Hossei.

Iran's regime executes champion boxer after torture, third in 4 months Document