16 February 2020 | Not in our name! Initiative for a Just Middle East Peace, Jewish Voice of Solidarity, Palestinian Club of the Czech Republic
Letter in Czech here | Press release in Czech here
International Criminal Court
p. o. box 19519
2500 CM, The Hague
Case: Situation in the State of Palestine
As citizens of the Czech Republic deeply concerned with the situation of occupied Palestine for a very long time, we appeal to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to refuse Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček’s request that the Court grant the Czech Republic amicus curiae status.
The Czech Republic has long demonstrated that it is not impartial on the Israel/Palestine conflict. Quite the contrary, over the years it has consistently blocked effective proposals based on international law to resolve the so-called Israeli-Palestinian conflict and hindered the efforts of Palestinians to gain their rights and thereby achieve a just solution. In this vein, it now seeks to make impossible any investigation of possible war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories by making allegations that the State of Palestine does not meet the legal requirements of statehood.
The fact of the matter is that the former Czechoslovakia was one of the first countries in the world to recognize the state of Palestine after its declaration of statehood in 1988. As a successor state, the Czech Republic continues to have diplomatic relations with Palestine to this day. Contrasted with this long recognition, today’s Czech Republic, even according to the statement of Minister Petříček himself, is trying to block the Palestinian Authority’s membership in international institutions. The Czech Republic’s current submission to the ICC is in line with this latter policy, which is intended to forestall justice, precisely by the use of the manufactured argument of the non-existence of the state of Palestine that the Czech Republic itself has diplomatic relations with.
Recall that more than seventy percent of the world’s states have recognized Palestinian statehood. The fact that Palestinians do not exercise sovereignty over their territory is due to the Israeli occupation and illegal land grabs. It is therefore absurd for the consequences of Israeli policy to become a legal argument to prevent Palestinians from trying to hold Israel accountable for this occupation policy.
With the greatest respect to the International Criminal Court and recognizing the non-binding nature of the statute concerning the granting of amicus curiae status for the Court of Justice, we ask that the ICC reject the Czech Republic’s request, a request which we consider duplicitous in this case before the Court, its legal argument biased. We believe instead that the Court will deal with the possible war crimes of Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories in accordance with international law and will answer the calls for freedom and justice of a people facing decades of injustice.
In Prague 16. 2. 2020
Copies: Tomáš Petříček, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic
Not in our name! Initiative for a Just Middle East Peace
Jewish Voice of Solidarity
Palestinian Club of the Czech Republic