Click Here to Read NGO Monitor’s Key Issue “International Criminal Court (ICC) and NGOs


The International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Israel in the “State of Palestine” 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 Palestinian NGOs with ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group.

The Court’s decision to allow the investigation to proceed will be used by the same NGOs to further exploit international mechanisms and to justify anti-Israel lawfare and boycott campaigns.

Many of the NGOs leading the anti-Israel ICC campaign are funded by European governments. In some instances, the European funding to Palestinian NGOs was explicitly earmarked for their activities vis-à-vis the ICC. These organizations are not credible sources of information for the Court. Their ties to the PFLP terror group, as well as their promotion of BDS and other anti-Israel activities, should have been disqualifying for any independent and objective body.

Yet, in deciding to pursue an investigation of Israel, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda met with a number of such NGOs, and they have been cited in various ICC documents related to the investigation.

In fact, it appears that Bensouda exclusively met with and relied upon groups representing the Palestinian narrative, reflected in the significant bias in her analysis. There is no evidence of her office contacting or her personally meeting with any NGOs representing Israeli victims despite several groups filing materials with her office and seeking meetings with her.

NGO Monitor, together with three other groups, jointly filed an amicus brief with the ICC that lays out the legal and factual flaws behind the argument that the ICC has jurisdiction. Many of the at least 50 briefs filed by NGOs in support of ICC jurisdiction exhibit the very same highly flawed or invented legal arguments; deviation from the requirement limiting discussion to that of jurisdiction; revision and erasure of the historical record, including Palestinian terrorism; promotion of biased source material; and in at least one case, filing as “victims” to circumvent the requirement to have obtained permission from the Court to provide Observations.

NGO Monitor Legal Advisor Anne Herzberg, who co-authored NGO Monitor’s amicus submission to the ICC, commented, “the decision from the ICC is hardly surprising. The ICC Prosecutor has been gunning for Israel for several years and has been working closely with European-funded terror-linked NGOs to craft bogus indictments against Israeli officials. The fact that Palestine is not a state, that the Oslo accords expressly prevent the Court from asserting jurisdiction, and that the Prosecutor made up a fake rule to go after the Jewish state, were ignored. And the judges have repeatedly flouted the ICC’s own procedures to try and manufacture a case against Israel.”

“In other words, anti-Israel animus and political machinations are more important to the Court than preserving its credibility. European donors of the terror-tied NGOs and the Court share responsibility for this legal travesty.”