Craig Murray: A Shift Against Impunity for Genocide

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Officials who supplied, incited or cheered on Israel’s monstrous atrocities have faced no legal jeopardy. That changed with South Africa’s reference to the International Court of Justice.

The Peace Palace, seat of the International Court of Justice, at The Hague, Netherlands. (UN Photo/ICJ/Jeroen Bouman, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

By Craig Murray

Expect the U.K. to intervene on Israel’s side in the South African case against Israel for genocide at the International Court of Justice.

If Israel loses, British ministers, civil servants and military personnel could end up in the dock for genocide — not only in the Hague, but in the U.K.

Infamously, U.K. courts give no force to international treaties even when the U.K. has ratified them, unless they are specifically incorporated in U.K. domestic legislation. 

The Genocide Convention was explicitly incorporated into U.K. law in 1969 by the Genocide Act. However the Genocide Act was repealed in 2001 and replaced by Section 51 of the International Criminal Court Act.

That is perfectly clear. Article 53 makes plain that this includes ancillary offences, e.g. aiding and abetting genocide.

What has the U.K. government done to aid and abet the genocide? It has:

1) Actively encouraged and incited genocide, including by the systematic obstruction of ceasefire resolutions at the U.N. Security Council;
2) Provided military equipment to Israel, with dozens of flights from RAF Akrotiri to Israel during the course of the genocide itself;
3) Provided communications intelligence to Israel to assist in genocide;
4) Provided aerial surveillance to Israel to assist in genocide.

[See: Craig Murray: Activating the Genocide Convention and Craig Murray: Stopping Genocide]

These are for certain. It is also widely rumoured that U.K. Special Forces have participated directly in the genocide. That is something the prosecution will have to determine.

There has been a great sense of impunity among the Zionist-controlled political classes: they have believed that they were in no danger of any personal retribution for their part in the brutal destruction of thousands and thousands of young children. In fact they felt able to turn the power of the state against anybody protesting that destruction. 

There has been no legal jeopardy to anybody supplying, inciting or cheering on Israel’s monstrous atrocities. The jeopardy has all been felt by those opposing the atrocities.

South Africa Changed All That

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa arriving for U.N. General Assembly in New York, Sept. 19, 2023. (U.N. Photo/Loey Felipe)

That all changed with South Africa’s reference to the International Court of Justice. A determination of genocide by the International Court of Justice must be respected by the International Criminal Court and it will be impossible even for the odious Karim Khan, the ICC prosecutor, to avoid bringing prosecutions against the perpetrators.

Similarly in the U.K., the fact of genocide being legally established, a police investigation will be obliged simply to focus on whether the U.K. aided and abetted it.

Quite simply, if you ask the police to investigate U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for aiding and abetting genocide today, they will laugh at you and say there is no genocide. After an ICJ judgment they can no longer do that.

Now I am not naive. Just as our rulers believe their backs are covered by Karim Khan at the International Criminal Court, they believe that their backs are covered in the U.K. by the provision that any prosecution must be with the consent of the attorney general. A government therefore has to agree to the prosecution.

Karim Khan in 2017. (UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

I gave evidence at great length to the police inquiry into U.K. complicity in C.I.A. torture and extraordinary rendition, in which former Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw had so much blood on their hands it would fill swimming pools. There were of course never any prosecutions.

But the world changes over time, and it feels like something has seriously shifted in both the international and domestic order from the open espousal by our ruling classes of the most extreme atrocities, happening again and again and again in plain sight. 

Our ruling classes may find they are less fixed in power than they believe. I would not bet on their impunity being permanent. There is a good precedent of participants in the Holocaust being brought to justice many decades later. We may yet see justice, and I believe a good deal sooner than that.

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010. His coverage is entirely dependent on reader support. Subscriptions to keep this blog going are gratefully received.

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