?Zionist crime and international justice

International humanitarian law was formed at the end of the ۱۹th century and was established in the ۲۰th century in relation to the laws governing wars and hostilities. Providing a framework for the protection of civilians this international humanitarian law evaluates war by valuing humanity and its rights while this law is often not observed in many conflicts.
3 December 2023
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Masoumeh Saif Afjehi

International humanitarian law was formed at the end of the 19th century and was established in the 20th century in relation to the laws governing wars and hostilities. Providing a framework for the protection of civilians, this international humanitarian law evaluates war by valuing humanity and its rights, while this law is often not observed in many conflicts.

According to the evaluation of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the recent invasion of Gaza by the Zionist regime, thousands of Palestinians were killed and injured, more than a million displaced people, dozens of health centers and hundreds of homes by thousands of bomb have been destroyed. In such a way, these international institutions described the Zionist regime's oppression of the Palestinians as a form of apartheid.[1].

According to the United Nations Apartheid Convention, the goal is that the world population is not exposed to apartheid and racial discrimination. The convention classifies apartheid as a crime against humanity. This means that the representatives of the countries who commit this crime can be prosecuted.

In addition to these cases, although the blockade is used as one of the military methods and techniques during the war and armed conflict, the blockade of Gaza civilians is illegal. Blocking the entry of food, water, and medicine and cutting off electricity directly to civilians will definitely lead to starvation and death. This is despite the fact that hospitals deserve special protection based on international humanitarian laws, and the blockade of people and the lack of access to water, fuel, and electricity are among cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Therefore, in fact, the blockade of Gaza means taking hostages of civilians.

In the current crisis in Gaza, one point should be noted. The Zionist regime has declared the reason for the war as a legitimate defense. At the same time, as the occupier of that territorial point, such a claim cannot be true because the right to self-determination is recognized in the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Court of Justice and other valid international documents. According to Resolution No. 45/130, approved on December 14, 1990, by the (United Nations) General Assembly, people under foreign rule, foreign occupation, or apartheid have the right to fight for the right to self-determination with all available means, including armed struggle. Armed struggle against apartheid regimes is legitimate in international law. Therefore, the armed struggle of people under occupation to free themselves from occupation and gain the right to self-determination is (completely) legitimate according to international law, and the response to this legitimate action cannot be called legitimate defense.

Now, in this illegitimate action of the Zionists, a partner named America has also violated international laws by sending weapons or special funds to the Zionist regime. Therefore, the United States is also recognized as guilty in the criminal process of the Gaza war. On the other hand, the Zionist regime, due to the fact that it was an occupying force, should be under the full pressure of the Fourth Geneva Convention. In fact, an occupying force has, in some ways, a greater obligation than the civilian population.

The basic question here is that despite the clearness of numerous crimes and violations of numerous laws, what will be the fate of the Palestinian people from a legal point of view?

One of the actions that can be taken against the Zionists is to refer the case of the Gaza war to the International Criminal Court. Fortunately, the situation in Palestine and Gaza was on the agenda of the court prosecutor before the start of the recent war. Therefore, with the occurrence of the war above and gross violations of international humanitarian law, the Court can exercise jurisdiction over crimes that occur in the occupied territories of Palestine. Undoubtedly, the realization of this task requires the passage of time and the performance and will of the Court in fighting impunity for clear violations of the rules and crimes under the jurisdiction of the statute of this international criminal Court.

One of the necessary conditions for filing and pursuing the case of crimes committed by the Zionist regime in the International Criminal Court is the accession of the countries to the Statute of the Court and acceptance of its jurisdiction based on Article 12 of the Statute of the Court. In 2014, the Palestinian government issued a declaration according to the article above of the statute, and according to this declaration, Palestine has accepted the jurisdiction of the Court regarding international crimes that occur in the territory of the Palestinians. Therefore, if the occupying forces in the occupied territories of Palestine, even in the Gaza Strip, commit crimes under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, especially war crimes that fall within the framework of the Palestinian government's declaration, the Court will have the jurisdiction to deal with these crimes.

In line with the complaint against the Zionist regime in the International Criminal Court, a campaign of 300 international lawyers has been formed on the initiative of a French lawyer to testify to the International Criminal Court that crimes against humanity have been committed in Gaza. They believe that this movement has a legal basis, and in the future, governments cannot deny this issue, and it will help the process of filing a complaint against the Zionist regime. For this, a series of civil society groups have documented war crimes and violations of international human rights. This is what can be used as a document in the future for justice and accountability. Human Rights Watch's research through satellite, telephone, video, and images helps this.

In this way, the amount of damage inflicted on civilians by the Zionists is a violation of the principles and rules of international humanitarian law and cannot be justified in any way. At this point in time, the role of the International Criminal Court can be important because it is the provider of justice and the field of truth-seeking in the information war in order to facilitate the trial of those responsible for war crimes and compensation for the victims.

Masoumeh Saif Afjeei, Manager of Human Rights and Women's Studies Department

(The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the IPIS)

[1] The meeting of representatives of the Norwegian Red Party in the parliament of this country and criticism of the United Nations Apartheid Convention

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