Canada has joined 6 other countries in requesting that the International Criminal Court (ICC) not continue with hearings on Israeli war crimes, claiming that the Court did not hold a right of jurisdiction as Canada does not recognise a Palestinian state.
Canada’s letter to the ICC, which also made reference to its own contribution to the ICC that year, $10.6 million this year, was submitted on the 14 February. 6 other countries have maintained clear opposition to the investigation including, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Uganda and Brazil.
The ICC is permitted the submission of briefs on the issue of jurisdiction from over 40 countries until 16 March. Canada is not listed among those countries and is not expected to present a briefing.
The Arab League, representing 22 nations, as well as the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, which represents 57 countries, have written in support of the ICC hearing.
Canada’s Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland, further stated;
“Canada’s longstanding position is that it does not recognise a Palestinian state and therefore does not recognise the accession of such a state to international treaties, including the Rome Statute. In the absence of a Palestinian state, it is Canada’s view that the Court does not have jurisdiction in this matter under international law,”
She further stated that Canada has maintained this position in 2015 and 2018. In 2015 Palestine signed the Rome Statute which enabled the ICC to hear their case against Israel’s crimes in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.
Saeb Erekat, Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), has criticised Canada’s decision stating that Canada has joined “Israel’s campaign for impunity.” He further stated “It is not about jurisdiction: It’s about war crimes. This is an encouragement to continue the war crimes.”
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