Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Questions (838)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

838. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if Ireland will support a full investigation by the ICC prosecutor of individuals suspected of war crimes committed in the occupied territories in the context of the decision of the ICC that it has jurisdiction in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967 namely Gaza and the West Bank including East Jerusalem; if he will support the role of the ICC in the EU and on the UN Security Council in this regard; if he will oppose attempts to defer an investigation or prosecution under Article 16 of the Rome Statute in view of the continual and increasing illegal transfer of Israeli civilians into the West Bank with the approval of the Israeli Government contrary to international law; if he condemns any attempts to impose sanctions on ICC staff or other personnel involved in or assisting the investigation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18278/21]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Ireland’s approach to the Israel-Palestinian conflict is based on respect for international law and the agreed international parameters, including relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.

Ireland is a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and is a firm supporter of the role and work of the ICC. Ensuring accountability is one of the key principles underpinning our engagement on the United Nations Security Council and we will support and defend the Court throughout our two-year term on the Council and beyond.

As a general rule, we believe that the Security Council should use its powers under Article 16 of the Rome Statute sparingly. The interests of justice and accountability for victims must be paramount in any consideration of a decision to defer an ICC investigation or prosecution.

Ireland remains deeply concerned by any threat to undermine the integrity and independence of the Court. We therefore welcome the recent repeal of the United States’ Executive Order and regulations containing measures against the ICC and a number of its senior officials by the US, and the stated intention of the Biden administrations to reset US relations with the Court.

We look forward to working with the US, fellow Rome Statute States Parties and others, including at EU and UN level, on a shared agenda to enhance the Court’s ability to fight impunity and ensure greater State cooperation in pursuit of justice and accountability for victims.

We are aware of the announcement by ICC Prosecutor Bensouda on the initiation of an investigation into the Situation in Palestine. Ireland is committed to preserving the independence and impartiality of the Court’s judicial process and we do not comment on ongoing legal processes.