London, 3rd January 2024- Today, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave an interview to The Telegraph saying he was concerned about “the worrying politicisation of the Met police”, in relation to investigation of war crimes in Gaza. ICJP utterly condemns the reckless and dangerous language used by Johnson and will consider making a complaint about his conduct.
Johnson’s comments were related to the Metropolitan Police’s investigation into Israel regarding potential war crimes in Gaza. Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism unit have appealed to witnesses travelling through British airports to report evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The work is being undertaken by the war crimes team to support an ongoing investigation by the International Criminal Court. Posters at airports have said that UK policing is supporting the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is investigating alleged war crimes in Israel and Palestine from June 2014 onwards.
During his time as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson openly opposed the ICC’s investigation. In sharp contrast, Boris Johnson accused Russia of war crimes following its invasion of Ukraine. He was also silent when the Metropolitan police investigated war crimes in Ukraine and did not accuse the Metropolitan police of wasting public funds. This inconsistency by Johnson shows a worrying and unacceptable attempt by him to politicise the Metropolitan police’s war crimes work.
The UK police are copying with their duty under British law to assist the ICC with their investigations into war crimes. This is the responsibility of States that are party to the ICC Statute and understand that the rule of law applies to everyone equally without fear or favour.
ICJP Director Tayab Ali responded to Johnson’s remarks, saying:
“A police investigation should not be subjected to political interference in this way. Johnson, who may have an axe to grind having found himself on the wrong side of the law by breaking Covid regulations, has a record for interfering with law enforcement investigations when it comes to Israel.
As Prime Minister he openly opposed the ICC’s investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes. Doing the same but with a domestic police investigation could render Johnson on the wrong side of the law again, but this time for the serious offence of perverting the course of justice by trying interfere with a police investigation. We at ICJP will consider making a complaint about Johnson’s conduct.”
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.
- The original article with The Telegraph can be found here.
- The original posters for Ukraine and Israel/Palestine can be found below.
- For more information, or to arrange an interview with a spokesperson please contact the ICJP news desk at [email protected].