UN investigator: Israeli settlements in West Bank and East Jerusalem constitute war crime – JURIST – News
A UN human rights investigator announced on Friday that Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem meet the definition of a war crime.
Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk addressed a meeting of the Human Rights Council, where he discussed whether the settlements violated the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Three elements must be satisfied in order to meet the definition of the war crime of transferring a civilian population to occupied territory. The material elements are the transfer of the population to the territory, and that the transfer took place as a result of an international armed conflict. These elements were encountered when Israel captured East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 as part of an international armed conflict.
The third element is mental, and it requires the perpetrator to have both intention and knowledge of the crime. The report notes that the Israeli government has long supported settlement growth and that the government “is fully aware of the clear direction of the international community” that its policies are in direct violation of international law.
Lynk concluded that Israeli behavior meets the definition of a war crime and therefore falls within the jurisdiction of the ICC. He accused Israel of not being “serious about peace” because of its constant disregard for the Rome Statute.
Lynk also said the international community “cannot be serious about its own laws” if it does not hold violators to account. It included a list of actions recommended to the international community, including a review of trade, cultural and investment agreements with Israel, and a ban on arms sales to Israel. Its recommendations also included holding Israeli political, military and administrative officials accountable for violations of international law.
Israel, which does not recognize the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and does not cooperate in any way with him, was not present at the meeting.