Key Issue:International Criminal Court (ICC) and NGOs
On February 5, 2021, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that it has the jurisdiction to open an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Israel in the “State of Palestine.” On March 3, 2021, the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC Fatou Bensouda announced the launch of a formal investigation. The investigation is to a significant degree the product of consistent and heavy lobbying of the ICC for over a decade by non-governmental organizations (NGOs). These include Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty International, and a number of groups with ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group.
In order to counter NGO lobbying campaigns pushing for proceedings against Israel in the International Criminal Court (ICC), NGO Monitor filed a submission with the Court on October 21, 2010. The brief provided missing context, corrected questionable legal claims made by these groups, and offered detailed information on NGO lawfare.
Although the ICC statute mandates that only states may join the court, after the 2008 Gaza War the Palestinian Authority claimed to accept the Court’s jurisdiction so that Israelis could be brought to trial as alleged “war criminals.” Instead of immediately rejecting the PA’s declaration, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor conducted a very political and public campaign purporting to “debate” the legal issues raised by it.
NGOs, many of which receive European funding, immediately joined the effort and actively lobbied the court in support of the PA’s efforts to launch war crimes trials against Israel. (See section “Origins of Lawfare at the ICC.”)
NGO Monitor’s submission directly addresses the distortions in this campaign.