Senior figures and officials have condemned attacks and political interference on efforts by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate alleged war crimes committed by Israel in Palestine.
In an open letter submitted to The Guardian newspaper, more than 50 former prime ministers, foreign ministers, and senior figures from across the world made it clear that any attempts to discredit the ICC in its search for justice and accountability would not be tolerated.
They expressed serious concern over public criticism and “unfounded” accusations of anti-Semitism.
“We witnessed with serious concern the executive order issued in the United States by former president Donald Trump and the sanctions designated against the court’s staff and their family members. Deeply worrying is now the unwarranted public criticism of the court regarding its investigation of alleged crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territory, including unfounded accusations of antisemitism,” the letter said.
“Attempts to discredit the court and obstruct its work cannot be tolerated if we are serious about promoting and upholding justice globally. We understand fears of politically motivated complaints and investigations. Yet we strongly believe that the Rome Statute guarantees the highest criteria of justice and provides a crucial avenue to address impunity for the world’s most serious crimes. Failure to act would have grave consequences,” it added.
The open letter also stressed the importance of European governments in offering their full support to the independence and impartiality of the ICC and defending the institution as well as its staff against any unwarranted criticism, threats, and external pressures.
“The ICC is a vital part of the rules-based international order. Now more than ever, Europe must lead by example in protecting the court’s independence,” it said.
The senior figures also welcomed US President Joe Biden’s decision to rescind former leader Donald Trump’s executive order and lift sanctions against the ICC, saying that such a move would “set the ground” for opportunities to work with the US to strengthen international justice as well as the institutions and norms that aim to uphold it.