Unglaubwürdig: Empörung über den Internationalen Strafgerichtshof

Internationaler Strafgerichtshof, Pressekonferenz nach Haftbefehlen gegen den israelischen Regierungschef Netanjahu, Verteidigungsminster Gallant, sowie drei Hamas-Führer (Lizenz: imago UPI Photo)

Letzte Aktualisierung am 21. Mai 2024 durch Thomas Morvay

Der Chefankläger des Haager Tribunals hat gestern Haftbefehle gegen die politischen und militärischen Anführer der Terrororganisation Hamas beantragt. Zugleich listet er angebliche Verletzungen des Völkerrechts auf, deren er Israels höchste Regierungsvertreter beschuldigt.

Karim Khan ist seit drei Jahren Oberster Staatsanwalt beim Internationalen Strafgerichtshof (IStGH) im niederländischen Den Haag. Das Tribunal, das entgegen landläufiger Meinung nicht Teil der Vereinten Nationen ist, besteht auf der Grundlage des sog. Römer Statuts, seit dem Jahr 2003. Dem völkerrechtlich legitimierten Staatsvertrag sind bis heute 124 Staaten beigetreten, über die Hälfte haben ihn ratifiziert. Namhafte Ausnahmen bilden die Vereinigten Staaten, China, Indien, Russland, Israel und die Türkei.

Khans Vorgängerin im Amt, die aus Gambia stammende Juristin Fatou Bensouda, tat sich besonders als USA- und israelkritische Exponentin hervor, was ihr Sanktionen – wie eine Einreisesperre – der Vereinigten Staaten während der Präsidentschaft von Donald Trump einbrachte. Bemerkenswerterweise hat auch Khan die von Frau Bensouda angestrengten Untersuchungen des Verhaltens der USA im Krieg gegen den Terror in Afghanistan fortgeführt, jedoch die Vereinigten Staaten ausdrücklich davon ausgenommen. Ob dies der Preis für seine Wahl gewesen ist, wird seither kolportiert und wirft einen weiteren Schatten auf das Gericht.

Die terroristischen Angriffe des Hamas am 7. Oktober 2023 und der anschliessende Gazakrieg riefen den Chefankläger nun auf den Plan. Gestern wurde bekannt, dass Chefankläger Khan gegen die politischen und militärischen Führer der Hamas, Ismael Haniyeh, Khaled Meschaal und Yahieh Sinwar einen Haftbefehl beantragt hat. Im gleichen Atemzug wurden auch der israelische Ministerpräsident Benjamin Netanjahu und sein Verteidigungsminister Yoav Gallant unter Anklage gestellt. Der Vorwurf lautet bei allen auf Kriegsverbrechen und Verletzung der Menschenrechte! Konkret nennt Khan gegen Israel dabei u.a. systematisches Aushungern der Zivilbevölkerung als Mittel der Kriegsführung, weil die israelische Armee zeitweilig mehrere Grenzübergänge geschlossen habe und damit die internationalen Hilfen in den Gazastreifen behinderte.

Nach Bekanntwerden seiner Anträge veröffentlichte Chefankläger Khan folgende Erklärung:

Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Diab Ibrahim Al-Masri (Deif), Ismail Haniyeh

On the basis of evidence collected and examined by my Office, I have reasonable grounds to believe that Yahya SINWAR (Head of the Islamic Resistance Movement (“Hamas”) in the Gaza Strip), Mohammed Diab Ibrahim AL-MASRI, more commonly known as DEIF (Commander-in-Chief of the military wing of Hamas, known as the Al-Qassam Brigades), and Ismail HANIYEH (Head of Hamas Political Bureau) bear criminal responsibility for the following war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on the territory of Israel and the State of Palestine (in the Gaza strip) from at least 7 October 2023: 

  • Extermination as a crime against humanity, contrary to article 7(1)(b) of the Rome Statute;
  • Murder as a crime against humanity, contrary to article 7(1)(a), and as a war crime, contrary to article 8(2)(c)(i);
  • Taking hostages as a war crime, contrary to article 8(2)(c)(iii);
  • Rape and other acts of sexual violence as crimes against humanity, contrary to article 7(1)(g), and also as war crimes pursuant to article 8(2)(e)(vi) in the context of captivity;
  • Torture as a crime against humanity, contrary to article 7(1)(f), and also as a war crime, contrary to article 8(2)(c)(i), in the context of captivity;
  • Other inhumane acts as a crime against humanity, contrary to article 7(l)(k), in the context of captivity;
  • Cruel treatment as a war crime contrary to article 8(2)(c)(i), in the context of captivity; and
  • Outrages upon personal dignity as a war crime, contrary to article 8(2)(c)(ii), in the context of captivity.

My Office submits that the war crimes alleged in these applications were committed in the context of an international armed conflict between Israel and Palestine, and a non-international armed conflict between Israel and Hamas running in parallel. We submit that the crimes against humanity charged were part of a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population of Israel by Hamas and other armed groups pursuant to organisational policies. Some of these crimes, in our assessment, continue to this day.

My Office submits there are reasonable grounds to believe that SINWAR, DEIF and HANIYEH are criminally responsible for the killing of hundreds of Israeli civilians in attacks perpetrated by Hamas (in particular its military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades) and other armed groups on 7 October 2023 and the taking of at least 245 hostages. As part of our investigations, my Office has interviewed victims and survivors, including former hostages and eyewitnesses from six major attack locations: Kfar Aza; Holit; the location of the Supernova Music Festival; Be’eri; Nir Oz; and Nahal Oz. The investigation also relies on evidence such as CCTV footage, authenticated audio, photo and video material, statements by Hamas members including the alleged perpetrators named above, and expert evidence.

It is the view of my Office that these individuals planned and instigated the commission of crimes on 7 October 2023, and have through their own actions, including personal visits to hostages shortly after their kidnapping, acknowledged their responsibility for those crimes. We submit that these crimes could not have been committed without their actions. They are charged both as co-perpetrators and as superiors pursuant to Articles 25 and 28 of the Rome Statute.

During my own visit to Kibbutz Be’eri and Kibbutz Kfar Aza, as well as to the site of Supernova Music Festival in Re’im, I saw the devastating scenes of these attacks and the profound impact of the unconscionable crimes charged in the applications filed today. Speaking with survivors, I heard how the love within a family, the deepest bonds between a parent and a child, were contorted to inflict unfathomable pain through calculated cruelty and extreme callousness. These acts demand accountability.

My Office also submits there are reasonable grounds to believe that hostages taken from Israel have been kept in inhumane conditions, and that some have been subject to sexual violence, including rape, while being held in captivity. We have reached that conclusion based on medical records, contemporaneous video and documentary evidence, and interviews with victims and survivors. My Office also continues to investigate reports of sexual violence committed on 7 October.

I wish to express my gratitude to the survivors, and the families of victims of the 7 October attacks, for their courage in coming forward to provide their accounts to my Office. We remain focused on further deepening our investigations of all crimes committed as part of these attacks and will continue to work with all partners to ensure that justice is delivered.

I again reiterate my call for the immediate release of all hostages taken from Israel and for their safe return to their families. This is a fundamental requirement of international humanitarian law.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Yoav Gallant

On the basis of evidence collected and examined by my Office, I have reasonable grounds to believe that Benjamin NETANYAHU, the Prime Minister of Israel, and Yoav GALLANT, the Minister of Defence of Israel, bear criminal responsibility for  the following war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on the territory of the State of Palestine (in the Gaza strip) from at least 8 October 2023:

  • Starvation of civilians as a method of warfare as a war crime contrary to article 8(2)(b)(xxv) of the Statute;
  • Wilfully causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or health contrary to article 8(2)(a)(iii), or cruel treatment as a war crime contrary to article 8(2)(c)(i);
  • Wilful killing contrary to article 8(2)(a)(i), or Murder as a war crime contrary to article 8(2)(c)(i);
  • Intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population as a war crime contrary to articles 8(2)(b)(i), or 8(2)(e)(i);
  • Extermination and/or murder contrary to articles 7(1)(b) and 7(1)(a), including in the context of deaths caused by starvation, as a crime against humanity;
  • Persecution as a crime against humanity contrary to article 7(1)(h);
  • Other inhumane acts as crimes against humanity contrary to article 7(1)(k).

My Office submits that the war crimes alleged in these applications were committed in the context of an international armed conflict between Israel and Palestine, and a non-international armed conflict between Israel and Hamas (together with other Palestinian Armed Groups) running in parallel. We submit that the crimes against humanity charged were committed as part of a widespread and systematic attack against the Palestinian civilian population pursuant to State policy. These crimes, in our assessment, continue to this day.

My Office submits that the evidence we have collected, including interviews with survivors and eyewitnesses, authenticated video, photo and audio material, satellite imagery and statements from the alleged perpetrator group, shows that Israel has intentionally and systematically deprived the civilian population in all parts of Gaza of objects indispensable to human survival.

This occurred through the imposition of a total siege over Gaza that involved completely closing the three border crossing points, Rafah, Kerem Shalom and Erez, from 8 October 2023 for extended periods and then by arbitrarily restricting the transfer of essential supplies – including food and medicine – through the border crossings after they were reopened. The siege also included cutting off cross-border water pipelines from Israel to Gaza – Gazans’ principal source of clean water – for a prolonged period beginning 9 October 2023, and cutting off and hindering electricity supplies from at least 8 October 2023 until today. This took place alongside other attacks on civilians, including those queuing for food; obstruction of aid delivery by humanitarian agencies; and attacks on and killing of aid workers, which forced many agencies to cease or limit their operations in Gaza.

My Office submits that these acts were committed as part of a common plan to use starvation as a method of war and other acts of violence against the Gazan civilian population as a means to (i) eliminate Hamas; (ii) secure the return of the hostages which Hamas has abducted, and (iii) collectively punish the civilian population of Gaza, whom they perceived as a threat to Israel.

The effects of the use of starvation as a method of warfare, together with other attacks and collective punishment against the civilian population of Gaza are acute, visible and widely known, and have been confirmed by multiple witnesses interviewed by my Office, including local and international medical doctors. They include malnutrition, dehydration, profound suffering and an increasing number of deaths among the Palestinian population, including babies, other children, and women.

Famine is present in some areas of Gaza and is imminent in other areas. As UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned more than two months ago, “1.1 million people in Gaza are facing catastrophic hunger – the highest number of people ever recorded – anywhere, anytime” as a result of an “entirely manmade disaster”. Today, my Office seeks to charge two of those most responsible, NETANYAHU and GALLANT, both as co-perpetrators and as superiors pursuant to Articles 25 and 28 of the Rome Statute.

Israel, like all States, has a right to take action to defend its population. That right, however, does not absolve Israel or any State of its obligation to comply with international humanitarian law. Notwithstanding any military goals they may have, the means Israel chose to achieve them in Gaza – namely, intentionally causing death, starvation, great suffering, and serious injury to body or health of the civilian population – are criminal.  

Since last year, in Ramallah, in Cairo, in Israel and in Rafah, I have consistently emphasised that international humanitarian law demands that Israel take urgent action to immediately allow access to humanitarian aid in Gaza at scale. I specifically underlined that starvation as a method of war and the denial of humanitarian relief constitute Rome Statute offences. I could not have been clearer. 

As I also repeatedly underlined in my public statements, those who do not comply with the law should not complain later when my Office takes action. That day has come.

In presenting these applications for arrest warrants, my Office is acting pursuant to its mandate under the Rome Statute. On 5 February 2021, Pre-Trial Chamber I decided that the Court can exercise its criminal jurisdiction in the Situation in the State of Palestine and that the territorial scope of this jurisdiction extends to Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. This mandate is ongoing and includes the escalation of hostilities and violence since 7 October 2023. My Office also has jurisdiction over crimes committed by nationals of States Parties and by the nationals of non-States Parties on the territory of a State Party.

Today’s applications are the outcome of an independent and impartial investigation by my Office. Guided by our obligation to investigate incriminating and exonerating evidence equally, my Office has worked painstakingly to separate claims from facts and to soberly present conclusions based on evidence to the Pre-Trial Chamber.

As an additional safeguard, I have also been grateful for the advice of a panel of experts in international law, an impartial group I convened to support the evidence review and legal analysis in relation to these arrest warrant applications. The Panel is composed of experts of immense standing in international humanitarian law and international criminal law, including  Sir Adrian Fulford PC, former Lord Justice of Appeal and former International Criminal Court Judge; Baroness Helena Kennedy KC, President of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute; Elizabeth Wilmshurst CMG KC, former Deputy Legal Adviser at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Danny Friedman KC; and two of my Special Advisers – Amal Clooney and His Excellency Judge Theodor Meron CMG. This independent expert analysis has supported and strengthened the applications filed today by my Office. I have also been grateful for the contributions of a number of my other Special Advisers to this review, particularly Adama Dieng and Professor Kevin Jon Heller.

Today we once again underline that international law and the laws of armed conflict apply to all. No foot soldier, no commander, no civilian leader – no one – can act with impunity. Nothing can justify wilfully depriving human beings, including so many women and children, the basic necessities required for life. Nothing can justify the taking of hostages or the targeting of civilians.

The independent judges of the International Criminal Court are the sole arbiters as to whether the necessary standard for the issuance of warrants of arrest has been met. Should they grant my applications and issue the requested warrants, I will then work closely with the Registrar in all efforts to apprehend the named individuals. I count on all States Parties to the Rome Statute to take these applications and the subsequent judicial decision with the same seriousness they have shown in other Situations, meeting their obligations under the Statute. I also stand ready to work with non-States Parties in our common pursuit of accountability.

It is critical in this moment that my Office and all parts of the Court, including its independent judges, are permitted to conduct their work with full independence and impartiality. I insist that all attempts to impede, intimidate or improperly influence the officials of this Court must cease immediately. My Office will not hesitate to act pursuant to article 70 of the Rome Statute if such conduct continues.

I remain deeply concerned about ongoing allegations and emerging evidence of international crimes occurring in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. Our investigation continues. My Office is advancing multiple and interconnected additional lines of inquiry, including concerning reports of sexual violence during the 7 October attacks, and in relation to the large-scale bombing that has caused and continues to cause so many civilian deaths, injuries, and suffering in Gaza. I encourage those with relevant information to contact my Office and to submit information via OTP Link.

My Office will not hesitate to submit further applications for warrants of arrest if and when we consider that the threshold of a realistic prospect of conviction has been met. I renew my call for all parties in the current conflict to comply with the law now.

I also wish to emphasise that the principle of complementarity, which is at the heart of the Rome Statute, will continue to be assessed by my Office as we take action in relation to the above-listed alleged crimes and alleged perpetrators and move forward with other lines of inquiry. Complementarity, however, requires a deferral to national authorities only when they engage in independent and impartial judicial processes that do not shield suspects and are not a sham. It requires thorough investigations at all levels addressing the policies and actions underlying these applications.

Let us today be clear on one core issue: if we do not demonstrate our willingness to apply the law equally, if it is seen as being applied selectively, we will be creating the conditions for its collapse. In doing so, we will be loosening the remaining bonds that hold us together, the stabilising connections between all communities and individuals, the safety net to which all victims look in times of suffering. This is the true risk we face in this moment.

Now, more than ever, we must collectively demonstrate that international humanitarian law, the foundational baseline for human conduct during conflict, applies to all individuals and applies equally across the situations addressed by my Office and the Court. This is how we will prove, tangibly, that the lives of all human beings have equal value.

Statement von Chefankläger Karim Khan KC, IStGH

Die Reaktionen in den Sozialen Medien und von offiziellen Seiten lassen nicht lange auf sich warten und fallen erwartungsgemäss aus. Besonders anzumerken gilt, dass sich sowohl Vertreter der amerikanischen Biden-Administration und auch der deutschen Bundesregierung demonstrativ hinter resp. schützend vor Israel stellen. Als aufmerksamer Beobachter kommt man nicht umhin festzustellen, dass das genau jene sind, die seit Monate auf die Einhaltung des sog. Humanitären Völkerrechts pochen – stets an die Adresse Israels gerichtet, während die Verurteilung der Hamas nur unmittelbar nach dem 7. Oktober thematisiert worden war und danach bloss wiederholt darauf verwiesen worden ist!

The United States fundamentally rejects the announcement today from the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) that he is applying for arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials, together with warrants for Hamas terrorists.

We reject the Prosecutor’s equivalence of Israel with Hamas.  It is shameful.  Hamas is a brutal terrorist organization that carried out the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust and is still holding dozens of innocent people hostage, including Americans. 

Moreover, the United States has been clear since well before the current conflict that that ICC has no jurisdiction over this matter. The ICC was established by its state parties as a court of limited jurisdiction.  Those limits are rooted in principles of complementarity, which do not appear to have been applied here amid the Prosecutor’s rush to seek these arrest warrants rather than allowing the Israeli legal system a full and timely opportunity to proceed. In other situations, the Prosecutor deferred to national investigations and worked with states to allow them time to investigate. The Prosecutor did not afford the same opportunity to Israel, which has ongoing investigations into allegations against its personnel.

There are also deeply troubling process questions.  Despite not being a member of the court, Israel was prepared to cooperate with the Prosecutor.  In fact, the Prosecutor himself was scheduled to visit Israel as early as next week to discuss the investigation and hear from the Israeli Government.  The Prosecutor’s staff was supposed to land in Israel today to coordinate the visit. Israel was informed that they did not board their flight around the same time that the Prosecutor went on cable television to announce the charges. These and other circumstances call into question the legitimacy and credibility of this investigation.

Fundamentally, this decision does nothing to help, and could jeopardize, ongoing efforts to reach a ceasefire agreement that would get hostages out and surge humanitarian assistance in, which are the goals the United States continues to pursue relentlessly.

Statement „Warrant Application by the ICC“, U.S. Department of State, May 20, 2024

The ICC prosecutor’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders is outrageous. And let me be clear: whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence — none — between Israel and Hamas.  We will always stand with Israel against threats to its security.

Statement by President Joe Biden, The White House, May 20, 2024

Der Internationale Strafgerichtshof ist eine elementare Errungenschaft der Weltgemeinschaft, die Deutschland immer unterstützt hat. Deutschland respektiert seine Unabhängigkeit und seine Verfahrensabläufe wie die aller anderen internationalen Gerichte. 

Dazu gehört, dass die Vorverfahrenskammer nun erst einmal über die Anträge des Chefanklägers auf die Ausstellung von Haftbefehlen zu entscheiden hat. 

Das Gericht wird dabei eine Reihe schwieriger Fragen zu beantworten haben, einschließlich gerade auch der Frage seiner Zuständigkeit und der Komplementarität von Ermittlungen betroffener Rechtsstaaten, wie es Israel einer ist.

Durch die gleichzeitige Beantragung der Haftbefehle gegen die Hamas-Führer auf der einen und die beiden israelischen Amtsträger auf der anderen Seite ist der unzutreffende Eindruck einer Gleichsetzung entstanden. Jedoch wird das Gericht nun sehr unterschiedliche Sachverhalte zu bewerten haben, die der Chefankläger in seinem Antrag ausführlich dargestellt hat.

Die Hamas-Führer verantworten ein barbarisches Massaker, bei dem am 7. Oktober in Israel Männer, Frauen und Kinder auf brutalste Weise gezielt ermordet, vergewaltigt und verschleppt wurden. Die Hamas hält weiterhin israelische Geiseln unter unsäglichen Bedingungen gefangen, greift Israel mit Raketen an und missbraucht die Zivilbevölkerung in Gaza als menschliche Schutzschilde. 

Die israelische Regierung hat das Recht und die Pflicht, ihre Bevölkerung davor zu schützen und dagegen zu verteidigen. Klar ist, dass dabei das humanitäre Völkerrecht mit all seinen Verpflichtungen gilt.

Erklärung durch das deutsche Auswärtige Amt, 20. Mai 2024

In der Erklärung von Khan wird postuliert, die einzuklagenden Verstösse gegen das Völkerrecht hätten sich „in einem internationalen bewaffneten Konflikt zwischen Israel und Palästina“ sowie in einer „nicht-internationalen bewaffneten Auseinandersetzung zwischen Israel und Hamas“ zugetragen. Diese Formulierung wirft ein Schlaglicht auf die von manchen Beobachtern angemahnte Wortwahl, wonach sich diese auf dem „Gebiet Israels und des Staates Palästina“ zugetragen hätten. Nach meiner Einschätzung wird dabei aber nicht die Staatlichkeit Israels in Zweifel gezogen, sondern im Gegenteil, das IStGH umgeht auf dieser Weise die „Peinlichkeit“, das Staatsgebiet Israels für alle Signatarstaaten des Gerichts verpflichtend zu definieren, ohne auf den Disput eingehen zu müssen, ob es nun um umstrittene, besetzte oder durch ein beliebiges anderes Adjektiv definierte Gebiet jenseits der international anerkannten Grenzen handelt, das Israel (unbestritten) kontrolliert und in dem es unterschiedliche Rechtsnormen anwendet.

Hier wird offenbar, dass es dem Gericht sehr wohl wichtig ist, vielmehr der Palästinensischen Autonomiebehörde zu gefallen, als den eh schon „voreingenommenen“ Kritikern. Damit nimmt jedoch Khan diesen Kritikern keinesfalls den Wind aus den Segeln, die eh bemängeln, der IStGH könne keine Zuständigkeit in Israel beanspruchen! Schon Khans Vorgänger verhedderte sich in den Niederungen des Konflikts, er versucht nun dem selben Schicksal zu entgehen. Es braucht keine besondere Begabung zu mutmassen, dass ihm dies nicht gelingen wird!

Übrigens, auch wenn fünf Haftbefehle beantragt werden, kann es sein, dass das Gericht bloss einem zustimmt – beispielsweise gegen Sinwar – weil es die gegen die Politiker beantragten, aus unterschiedlichen Gründen, beispielsweise für nicht durchsetzbar erachtet! Etwa, weil Netanjahu und Gallant in einem Rechtsstaat leben, das sehr wohl eine funktionierende Justiz besitzt. Oder weil Meschaal und Haniyeh austauschbare Figuren sind, die als Terroristen zudem jenseits einer durchsetzbaren Gerichtbarkeit leben – nur mal so als Beipiel, welche die Grenzen des IStGH aufzeigen.

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Über Thomas Morvay 316 Artikel
Der mit Sprache Bilder kreiiert Seit über 10 Jahren journalistisch tätig, vorwiegend zu Themen Israel und jüdisches Leben. Zuvor Korrespondent und Redaktioneller Mitarbeiter für die European News Agency, und seit geraumer Zeit als Blogger hier auf dieser Plattform. Davor war ich auch fleissig als Kommentator über die Plattform Disqus unterwegs, u.a. bei der Jerusalem Post oder die Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Inhaltlich mache ich keinen Hehl aus meiner Überzeugung, dass für mich die sog. Zwei-Staaten-Lösung - die ja wahl- und bezeichnenderweise auch schon ein Konzept für mehr als 2 Staaten war - eine in der westphälischen Ordnung (Henry Kissinger) verwurzelte und europazentrische Sichtweise - überholt resp. zumindest neu gedacht werden muss. Als Sprössling zweier Überlebenden der Schoa ist das, was man heutzutage Erinnerungskultur nennt, naturgemäss mein Thema. In diesen Zusammenhang gehört die Auffassung, dass man nach wie vor lieber tote Juden beweint, als dass man sich lebenden Juden - in Israel oder in der Diaspora - zuwendet, bekennt und mit ihnen solidarisiert. In dieser Hinsicht halte ich meinem Land, der Schweiz, vor, sich ihrer Verantwortung aus dem Zweiten Weltkrieg bis heute nicht gestellt zu haben. Da verkommt sogar die Diskussion über eine zentrale Gedenkstätte oder zu Raubkunst zur willkommenen Ablenkung vom Thema. Mitglied im Deutschen Verband der Pressejournalisten

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