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Domestic Legislation on International Crimes

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International Criminal Court

Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court: The State of Israel signed the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court on 31 December 2000. The State of Israel is not a state party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

In a communication received on 28 August 2002, the Government of Israel informed the Secretary-General of the following:
    ".....in connection with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court adopted on 17 July 1998, [...] Israel does not intend to become a party to the treaty. Accordingly, Israel has no legal obligations arising from its signature on 31 December 2000. Israel requests that its intention not to become a party, as expressed in this letter, be reflected in the depositaryís status lists relating to this treaty."

Upon signature, the State of Israel made the following declaration:

    ďBeing an active consistent supporter of the concept of an International Criminal Court, and its realization in the form of the Rome Statute, the Government of the State of Israel is proud to thus express its acknowledgment of the importance, and indeed indispensability, of an effective court for the enforcement of the rule of law and the prevention of impunity.

    As one of the originators of the concept of an International Criminal Court, Israel, through its prominent lawyers and statesmen, has, since the early 1950ís, actively participated in all stages of the formation of such a court. Its representatives, carrying in both heart and mind collective, and sometimes personal, memories of the holocaust - the greatest and most heinous crime to have been committed in the history of mankind - enthusiastically, with a sense of acute sincerity and seriousness, contributed to all stages of the preparation of the Statute. Responsibly, possessing the same sense of mission, they currently support the work of the ICC Preparatory Commission.

    At the 1998 Rome Conference, Israel expressed its deep disappointment and regret at the insertion into the Statute of formulations tailored to meet the political agenda of certain states. Israel warned that such an unfortunate practice might reflect on the intent to abuse the Statute as a political tool. Today, in the same spirit, the Government of the State of Israel signs the Statute while rejecting any attempt to interpret provisions thereof in a politically motivated manner against Israel and its citizens. The Government of Israel hopes that Israelís expressions of concern of any such attempt would be recorded in history as a warning against the risk of politicization, that might undermine the objectives of what is intended to become a central impartial body, benefiting mankind as a whole.

    Nevertheless, as a democratic society, Israel has been conducting ongoing political, pand academic debates concerning the ICC and its significance in the context of international law and the international community. The Courtís essentiality - as a vital means of ensuring that criminals who commit genuinely heinous crimes will be duly brought to justice, while other potential offenders of the fundamental principles of humanity and the dictates of public conscience will be properly deterred - has never seized to guide us. Israelís signature of the Rome Statute will, therefore, enable it to morally identify with this basic idea, underlying the establishment of the Court.

    Today, [the Government of Israel is] honoured to express [its] sincere hopes that the Court, guided by the cardinal judicial principles of objectivity and universality, will indeed serve its noble and meritorious objectives.Ē



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