“The international order at a crossroads”: ICC warns Israel on indiscriminate bombardment of Rafah amid Israel’s increased risk of war crimes and Genocide 

London, 12th February 2024- The International Centre of Justice for Palestinians is appalled by the indiscriminate bombardment of Rafah, which resulted in the killing of at least 67 Palestinian people and, the imminent ground offensive to follow. There are currently 1.4 million forcibly displaced Palestinians sheltering in Rafah and targeting this area may contravene the International Court of Justice’s provisional measures to Israel to prevent genocide. 

The offensive on Rafah is taking place whilst 1.4 million forcibly displaced Palestinians are sheltering there. Many of these people have been displaced multiple times and have been pushed further and further south for the last 5 months. With nowhere else to go, those in Rafah have now been bombarded, with the threat of a ground offensive looming. Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu was unequivocable about the threat of a ground offensive, by simply saying “we are going to do it”.

ICJP is critically concerned by the continued resistance of the UK Government and the Opposition to call for an immediate ceasefire and their failure to investigate and uphold accountability for Israeli crimes against Palestinians in Gaza, in the wake of such horrific developments in Rafah.

Calls for a ‘sustainable ceasefire’ by Opposition leader Keir Starmer and a ‘pause’ by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak ring hollow compared to calls for an immediate ceasefire. The UK should not be complicit in allowing the continued bombardment of civilians in Rafah and elsewhere in Gaza. By failing to demand that Israel abide by the ICJ’s provisional measures, the UK has emboldened Israel in their actions. 

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan KC responded to the bombardment by expressing ‘deep concern’, adding that since his last visit to Ramallah he has ‘not seen any discernible change in conduct by Israel’. It is imperative that international institutions uphold the principles of accountability for those in breach of the law, including breaches of the Rome Statute, including war crimes, crimes against humanity and potential acts of genocide. 

ICJP Director Tayab Ali said: 

“Accountability comes to all people who breach international laws. I always had faith in the International Criminal Court (ICC) and I still do. Rafah poses a fundamental challenge to the legitimacy of the global rules based accountability system.

With the entire international order at a crossroads, it is encouraging to see that ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan has expressed his concern over the bombardment of Rafah. Accountability is coming and when it comes there will be no stopping it.”


Notes to Editors:

  1. 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. 
  2. Leader of the Opposition Keir Starmer reacted to the reported offensive in Rafah by calling for a sustainable ceasefire.
  3. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reacted to the reported offensive in Rafah by calling for a pause.
  4. For more information, to arrange an interview with a spokesperson, please contact the ICJP news desk at [email protected].