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During the last electoral campaign, we urged the next government "to step up to the plate" and commit itself to making the fight against impunity a foreign policy priority. Almost a year later, we are pleased to see Canada moving in this direction.
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Canada has historically been a leading voice for international accountability. Mass violence and mass atrocities being committed in Syria, Ukraine, the Central African Republic and North Korea suggest that states are falling short of their obligations. Expectations are not being met. Canada can and should resuscitate its leadership on this front.
The PA's diplomatic stunt is a zero-sum game that will only obstruct the peace process and assault Israel's legitimacy. In no way does the Palestinian attempt to join the International Criminal Court advance the prospects for peace with Israel, instead, Palestinian intransigence only impedes its own path to procuring statehood.
It is easy to look at the facts, and other distressing realities, that surround the International Criminal Court and conclude that the 11-year old court is failing. And it might be. It has only handed out one verdict in its entire history, and it was a guilty vote. Many of its accused are still at large. But it serves a vital purpose in this day and age.
One of the most interesting fallouts from the recent Palestinian victory at the United Nations is the spotlight on the International Criminal Court. Many view the prospect of Palestinian membership in the ICC, which it is now entitled to seek, as unleashing a Pandora's box of "lawfare." This premise is based on a flawed understanding of how the Court functions.
This week has seen an upsurge in violence between Israelis and Palestinians. In 24 hours, 79 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Arsen Ostrovsky asks, "My country is under attack, do you care?" The responses to his piece have been disturbing. Israel's occupation of Palestine is wrong. But a denunciation of illegal-Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli civilians need not be prefaced by a resuscitation of each ill that Israel has inflicted on Palestinians. Victimhood must be inclusive.
In a massive defeat for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' campaign to delegitimize Israel, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has ruled that Palestine is not a "state" and it therefore does not have jurisdiction to investigate alleged "war crimes" committed by Israel in the "territory of Palestine since 1 July 2002."