Letter to ICC: Arrest warrants for Israelis and Hamas leaders

30 May 2024 | Not in our name! – For Justice and Peace in the Middle East!

Intenational Criminal Court
Po Box 19519

2500 CM, The Hague

The Netherlands
Fax +31 70 515 8555

Case: arrest warrants for Israelis and Hamas leaders

Your Honour, 

We are addressing you as citizens of the Czech Republic, whose Prime Minister Petr Fiala has publicly questioned the request of the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague (ICC), Karim Khan, to issue arrest warrants for representatives of Hamas and Israel. The request for the arrest warrant was issued on the basis of reasonable suspicion of committing crimes against humanity and war crimes, in the case of the Hamas attack on Israel last October, and in the case of Israel’s subsequent war against Gaza.

Prime Minister Fiala’s words that the Chief Prosecutor’s proposal is”frightening and completely unacceptable” represent ideological interference in the work of the international court, the sole authority to assess matters concerning violations of international law. The request did not come just from one prosecutor and his team, but was rather the conclusion of eight renowned legal experts, on which Prosecutor Khan could rely. Prime Minister Fiala’s statement must be considered unacceptable if only for the reason that the Czech Republic itself is a signatory of the Rome Statute of the ICC and that the Czech political representation itself often invokes the ICC in the case of prosecution of other political leaders, such as representatives of Hamas or the Russian Federation.

The Czech Prime Minister’s outrage seems to be caused only by the prosecution of representatives of Israel, who apparently, according to Prime Minister Fiala, should enjoy immunity solely because of the country of their origin. Referring to the unacceptable comparison of the prosecution of Israeli representatives and Hamas leaders is completely contrary to the principle of equality before the law and the principle of investigation according to the substantive nature of the actions, not to the origin of the persons concerned or the casuality of their alleged actions, which are in fact secondary. We thus perceive Prosecutor Khan’s statements as a clear assertion in his declaration that international law must apply to all.

In the past, our country unfortunately experienced ample ideological interference in the independence of courts and politically expedient efforts to influence their rulings. Prime Minister Fiala’s statement must be considered not only inappropriate but, for all the above reasons, completely unacceptable. The incompetence of Petr Fiala is also indicated by the fact that, as Prime Minister, he apparently does not know that our state already recognizes the state of Palestine.

Allow us to express our full support for and hope in your actions, which will contribute to justice that the people of Palestine/Israel expect and so desperately need.

In Prague, May 30, 2024

For the civic initiative Not in our name! – For Justice and Peace in the Middle East!

Zdeněk Jehlička

Cyril Čuda

Filip Outrata

Ester Berkane

Romana Howe

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