ICC head prosecutor ‘whitewashing’ Israel: FInkelstein
American Jewish scholar accuses chief prosecutor of defiling her office during Mavi Marmara case
American Jewish political scientist Norman Finkelstein accused the International Criminal Court's (ICC) head prosecutor of refusing to investigate credible allegations of Israeli criminality in his recent book.
Finkelstein blamed Fatou Bensouda for "whitewashing" Israel in, I Accuse!, in a section of the book that details Israel’s deadly 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.
The day after raid, the Comoros flagged ship that was previously owned by an Istanbul company, Finkelstein said, "The Chief Prosecutor shockingly decided that it was not of sufficient gravity to warrant even an official investigation."
"She [Bensouda] was able to reach this conclusion, however, only by, on the one hand, grossly misrepresenting the facts of the assault and, on the other hand, extirpating the assault from its critical context - the illegal Israeli blockade and the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza," he said.
"Whereas she has twice declared the case closed, an unprecedented pushback from within the ICC has forced the Chief Prosecutor to revisit it," according to the professor. "The irrefutable proof that justice was perverted can be found in the vast Court record."
He said Palestine filled a complaint with the ICC about Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Israel’s savage military assault on Gaza in 2014 in Operation Protective Edge, but the chief prosecutor has not yet decided whether to open an investigation.
"The facts are, however, that the 15 judges sitting on the International Court of Justice unanimously declared Israeli settlements illegal a decade and a half ago, while the UN Security Council more recently reiterated that Israeli settlement activity 'has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law'; as for Protective Edge, only a prosecutor not analyzing the factual situation but, instead, conducting a career cost-benefit analysis would find Israel’s indiscriminate killing of 550 children and methodical destruction of 18,000 homes in Gaza legally complex (in Israel, one child was killed and one home was destroyed)," he wrote.
"It also appears likely that, in order to evade her legal obligations, the Chief Prosecutor will invoke the principle of 'complementarity,' according to which ICC jurisdiction kicks in only if national courts fail to carry out genuine investigations," according Finkelstein, who was denied tenure at DePaul University following a feud with another academic, Alan Dershowitz, about their perspectives on the Israeli-Palestine conflict.
"If justice is to prevail, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda must either investigate alleged Israeli crimes or step down," the author concludes.
The Mavi Marmara case began in 2013 when the Indian Ocean nation of Comoros, asked an ICC prosecutor to investigate the deadly raid.
The Israeli commando attack on the flotilla in May 2010 resulted in the deaths of eight Turkish nationals and an American of Turkish origin, and the wounding of 30 others, including one who died after nearly four years in a coma.
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