- International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP) has written a notice of intention to prosecute any UK politicians that are aiding and abetting war crimes in Gaza.
- The Labour leadership have been notified that UK politicians may be individually criminally liable for their role in aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity.
- The notice has been handed over to Scotland Yard’s War Crimes Unit, who have requested evidence relating to war crimes in the region.
London 16 October 2023- This morning, ICJP issued Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry and David Lammy with a notice of intention to prosecute UK politicians for their role in aiding and abetting Israel’s perpetration of war crimes. The news follows Saturday’s reports that ICJP issued Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with a stark warning that UK government officials could be individually liable for their role in aiding and abetting Israeli war crimes based on their public statements of unequivocal support of Israel.
This remarkable development comes at a time when Scotland Yard’s War Crimes Unit have opened calls for evidence relating to war crimes in the region. In an incredible turn of events, this could lead to senior politicians being prosecuted for war crimes by Scotland Yard. Individuals could also be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court.
Last week, both Keir Starmer, Leader of the Opposition, and Emily Thornberry, Shadow Attorney General,spoke out in defence of Israel’s withholding of food, water and electricity to Gaza. They justified this collective punishment based on ‘Israel’s right to defend itself’.
Both politicians are human rights lawyers and should be well aware that this argument does not justify collective punishment, which is illegal under international law. ICJP sent a private letter to the Shadow Attorney General last week, urging Labour Party politicians to comply with international law or action would be taken, and now a notice to prosecute has been issued.
Mere hours after ICJP’s announcement on Saturday, Keir Starmer retracted his endorsement of Israel’s total siege on Gaza, illegal under international law. However, he fell short of acknowledging and condemning the war crimes and crimes against humanity already perpetrated. David Lammy has also been issued with the notice that Labour politicians could be liable, in his capacity as Shadow Foreign Secretary.
As well as the total siege on Gaza, Israel has also issued a directive to 1.2 million people in Gaza to immediately leave their homes in northern Gaza and move south. This order will result in mass forced displacement which may amount to both a war crime and a crime against humanity.
Now that there is clear evidence that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been carried out, and politicians have been formally notified of this, continuation of such support and assistance would mean that any politicians, including senior members of the opposition, could be complicit in the commission of such crimes. This complicity, formally known as ‘aiding and abetting’ war crimes, may mean that UK politicians are held individually criminally liable for breaking international law.
ICJP demands that the Labour Party leadership and UK politicians more broadly must call for an immediate ceasefire, call for an end to Israel’s illegal siege and evacuation order for North Gaza, condemn Israel’s war crimes and crimes against humanity. They should then press the government into immediate action to do the same.
Notes to Editors:
- The International Centre of Justice for Palestinians is an independent organisation of lawyers, politicians and academics who support the rights of Palestinians and aim to protect their rights through the law.
- Full letters to Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry and David Lammy can be found below.
- For more information, or to arrange an interview with a spokesperson please contact: [email protected]