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A False Messiah? The ICC in Israel/Palestine and the Limits of International Criminal Justice

By: Jeremie Bracka

This Article challenges the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) quasi-messianic mandate in the Middle-East. It casts doubt over the legal basis and desirability of an ICC intervention in the

situation of Palestine. Despite the prosecutor’s formal opening of an investigation in 2021, there exist formidable obstacles to exercising jurisdiction over Gaza and the Israeli settlements. The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) faces an uphill battle based on complex territorial and temporal dimensions. Indeed, the admissibility hurdles at the ICC of Palestinian statehood,

complementarity, gravity and the interests of justice merit close inquiry. This Article also challenges the ICC as an ideal and primary response to human rights abuses of Israelis and

Palestinians. So embedded in international discourse is the prosecution preference, scant attention has been devoted to transitional justice in the Middle-East. Ultimately, it will be submitted that international criminal justice (ICJ) is singularly ill-equipped to reckon with the Israeli-Palestinian past. The conflict involves a complex set of actors, legacies, and national claims, that exist far beyond the ICC’s legal reach and normative mission.


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