Lieberman Invites State Parties to Cut ICC Funding

RAMALLAH, January 18, 2015 (WAFA) – Israel is trying to influence State Parties of International Criminal Court (ICC) to cut funding for the permanent international court in response to a preliminary examination into possible war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories, Israeli official said on Sunday.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, in a radio talk, said that ‘Israel, which like the United States does not belong to the ICC, hopes to dent funding for the court that is drawn from the 122 member-states.’

Lieberman told Israel Radio, ‘We will demand of our friends in Canada, in Australia and in Germany simply to stop funding [ICC].’

‘This body represents no one. It is a political body,’ he said. ‘There are a quite a few countries – I’ve already taken telephone calls about this – that also think there is no justification for this body’s existence,’ reported Reuters.

Lieberman noted that he intends to discuss the issue with the visiting Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird on Sunday.

ICC is funded by contributors from the States Parties and by voluntary contributions from governments, international originations, individuals and corporations and other entities.

The Israeli response comes following ICC prosecutors announced Friday that they would examine ‘in full independence and impartiality’ crimes that may have occurred since June 13, 2013, most notably during the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip.

This decision would allow the international court to investigate possible war crimes committed during the conflict in Gaza from July to August 2013, which resulted in the death of more than 2,200 Palestinians and 70 Israelis.

The Palestinian accession to the ICC came after the United Nations Security Council failed to recognize Palestine as an independent state. The ICC membership is expected to come into effect on April 1.

According to the ICC, “For a new State Party, the [Rome] Statue enters into force on the first day of the month after the 60th day following the date if the deposit of its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.”

Another unnamed Israeli official told Reuters that a similar request of cutting fund was sent to Germany, which is one of the ICC’s strongest supporters, and would also be made to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is visiting Jerusalem and whose nation is the largest contributor to ICC.

In this regard, Secretary General of the Arab League, Nabil al-Arabi, sent an official letter to Japan, calling on it to recognize an independent Palestinian state.