September 16, 2019
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 In Inequality in International Criminal Prosecutions

Country: Israel
Delegate Name: Nina Hall

Israel
Nina Hall
Royal Oak High School

Over the years Israel has had growing issues with ICC and their jurisdiction. Recently the issue arises from the growing conflict between Israel and Palestine. Israel is not a member of the ICC and disputes its jurisdiction on the basis that Palestine is not a sovereign state capable of being a party to the Rome Statute, and former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly condemned the allegations and investigation. It is clear that the Court still has challenging, continuous duties and challenges nine years after the Rome Statute entered into force, and to make matters worse, they all need to be addressed at once. International trials are notoriously difficult and frequently politicized, so some delay is to be expected. But the increasingly slow processes cause significant issues. The first major issue is also the most practical one: lengthy trials are costly and resource-intensive to the point that international tribunals are sometimes unable to handle a heavy caseload or respond quickly to emerging crises. The second issue is almost philosophical. Criminal courts all over the world recognize the fundamental right of accused parties to a trial without excessive delay; yet, the demonstrated incapacity of international tribunals to guarantee this right threatens both their operational viability and perceived credibility globally.

International criminal tribunals are far from a “finished product,” and more work has to be done. Achieving the speed and efficiency that distinguish the best criminal justice systems is today severely hampered by procedural delays that are partially self-inflicted and theatrical obstruction by accused parties. Trials have also become longer as a result of the courts’ adoption of restrictive witness regulations, such as those that forbid “witness proofing,” or the lawyer’s assessment of a witness’ evidence before the witness appears in court. Although the goal of such a ban is to decrease witness tampering, it also makes people more surprised. Leading question restrictions are also frequently used in international criminal tribunals. However, asking leading questions is the most effective way to elicit clear and concise answers on cross-examination and to highlight important background information and other non-contentious evidence. Even though they ultimately end up in the same place, these restrictions all make it necessary for the courts and parties to take the long way around.

Still, all of these efforts to improve the ICC’s process of trial have yet to prove effective. Israel will continue to denounce the ICC’s jurisdiction in international cases as well as the unlawful investigations it has conducted against the country of Israel.

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