Australian PM referred to ICC over alleged genocide complicity in Gaza

Albanese, on Tuesday, however, dismissed the case, saying the legal team did not have any credibility.

05 Mar 2024 09:24pm
Anthony Albanese - FILE PIX by Sinar
Anthony Albanese - FILE PIX by Sinar

ISTANBUL - A team of Australian lawyers has referred its Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as an accessory to genocide in the Palestinian besieged enclave of Gaza.

Birchgrove Legal, who filed the case said he is the first leader of a Western nation to be referred to the ICC under Article 15 of the Rome Statute.

Led by the King’s Counsel Sheryn Omeri, the legal team said in a statement on Tuesday, that they have spent months documenting the alleged complicity and outlining the individual criminal responsibility of Albanese concerning the situation in Palestine.

The team said the 92-page document was submitted to the Office of ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan KC on Monday, and endorsed by more than one hundred Australian lawyers and barristers.

Albanese, on Tuesday, however, dismissed the case, saying the legal team did not have any credibility.

It "clearly has no credibility going forward... I don't think that peaceful resolution is advanced by misinformation, and there has been a substantial amount of misinformation about what is occurring,” Albanese said ahead of hosting a special summit of leaders from Southeast Asian nations in Melbourne.

According to Birchgrove Legal, the dossier submitted to the ICC sets out several actions taken by the Australian PM and other ministers including members of parliament (MP), including Foreign Minister Wong and the leader of the opposition, for the prosecutor to consider and investigate.

The dossier includes Australia’s freezing US$6 million in funding to the United Nations (UN) aid agency operating in Gaza (UNRWA).

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It accuses Canberra of providing military aid and approving defence exports to Israel, which could be used by the IDF (Israeli forces) in the course of the prima facie commission of genocide and crimes against humanity.”

The group has accused the Albanese government of "ambiguously deploying an Australian military contingent to the region, where its location and exact role have not been disclosed.”

Notably, the Australian forces are aiding the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) in its attacks on Yemen’s Houthis who have launched attacks on Israeli-flagged ships in the Red Sea, in reaction to Tel Aviv’s war on Gaza.

Furthermore, Birchgrove Legal said Canberra has been permitting Australians, either explicitly or implicitly, to travel to Israel to join the IDF and take part in its attacks on Gaza.

Canberra has been providing unequivocal political support for Israel’s actions, as evidenced by the political statements of the PM (Albanese) and other members of parliament, including the leader of the opposition.

Israel has launched a deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip following a cross-border incursion by the Palestinian group Hamas on Oct 7.

The ensuing Israeli bombardment has killed 30,534 people and injured 71,920 others with mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

The Israeli war has pushed 85 per cent of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine. In comparison, 60 percent of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza. - BERNAMA-ANADOLU

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