Main Menu
198 Organizations including Al-Haq Send Letters to the ICC Prosecutor and the ASP President Concerning the Situation of Palestine
26، Nov 2022

On 23 November 2022, ahead of the 21st session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Al-Haq and 197 Palestinian, regional and international civil society organisations (CSOs) sent open letters to the ICC Prosecutor Mr Karim A. A. Khan KC and the ASP President Ms Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi. The letter sent to the ICC Prosecutor Khan calls on him to investigate and deter Israeli apartheid regime’s crimes in Palestine. The letter stipulates that the mandate of the ICC Prosecutor “provides the opportunity, not only to investigate international crimes but also to monitor the situation investigated by [his] office and to perform an early warning function.” The letter cites the Office of the Prosecutor’s (OTP) policy paper which provides for deterrent preventive statements that “will allow the Office to react promptly to upsurges of violence by reinforcing early interaction with States, international organisations and non-governmental organisations in order to verify information on alleged crimes, to encourage genuine national proceedings and to prevent reoccurrence of crimes.”

It also shows that previous preventive statements issued by the OTP have proven to be effective in providing sufficient deterrence. It gives the example of the OTP’s 2018 preventive statement regarding the planned forced evictions of the Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar in the West Bank. It further shows that “the then-Israeli Foreign Minister confirmed that Israel did not evict Khan al-Ahmar out of concerns of an ICC investigation.” The letter affirms that this “unequivocally shows that such preventive statements can provide sufficient deterrence.” It also highlights that there have been “important missed opportunities for preventive statements in the past year” and notes that “a statement from the Prosecutor –that the OTP is monitoring the situation and that any serious crimes committed may be included in [his] office’s investigation– can provide the required deterrence and help reduce Palestinian victims’ suffering.”

The letter sent to the ASP President de Gurmendi highlighted the crucial role that the ASP plays in supporting the court underscoring the ‘Omnibus Resolution’ on “Strengthening the ICC and the ASP” in which the ASP expressed, inter alia, its appreciation of the “invaluable assistance that has been provided by civil society to the Court,” and voiced its concerns “by the recent reports of threats and intimidation directed at some civil society organizations cooperating with the Court.” Moreover, that the ASP reaffirmed “the importance of supporting all those cooperating with the Court […] in order to secure the ability of the Court to fulfil its critical mandate of holding accountable perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community and delivering justice to victims.”

It also underscored the ASP proposal for the implementation of recommendation 169 of the Independent Expert Review, in which it reaffirmed its commitment to “uphold and defend the principles and values enshrined in the Rome Statute and to preserve its integrity undeterred by any threats or measures against the Court, its officials and those cooperating with it, and renews its resolve to stand united against impunity.” Moreover, the proposal reiterates that the Presidency of the ASP, “bears the main responsibility for coordinating an appropriate response from the Assembly to any threat or attack against the Court, its officials and those cooperating with it, which has the potential to undermine the integrity, effectiveness or impartiality of the Court.” The proposal listed concrete steps that the ASP can take to ensure an immediate response to such attacks, including, issuing a statement, convening an urgent meeting of the Bureau, and proposing additional measures to be adopted by the Bureau, which could include individual or joint statements and other forms of communication and outreach, and other private or public diplomacy initiatives.

Consequently, both letters noted the Israeli apartheid brazen outlawing of Palestinian six prominent Palestinian civil society organisations on 22 October 2021, as well as the Israeli occupying forces’ raids on the headquarters of the seven organisations on 18 August 2022, confiscating computers and equipment, sealing entrance doors and formally closing the organisations under military orders. The letters stressed that such acts by Israel’s apartheid regime military of “tampering with or interfering with the collection of evidence”, when at the investigation or trial stage, for example, may amount to “offences against the administration of justice” as stipulated by Article 70 of the Rome Statute. It further showed that the Israeli “unsubstantiated designations and its latest outrageous raid of Palestinian civil society offices appear to be an attempt by its apartheid authorities to conceal its crimes and to prevent the ICC from acquiring the information that has been collected by those organisations”.

The letters further showed that these designations are “the latest in an orchestrated campaign of repression against the organisations, apparently in large part because of their constructive engagement with [his] office.” It further referred to the OTP’s 2016 report on preliminary examination activities, in which it acknowledged that “staff members of certain [Palestinian] organisations that have gathered information of relevance to the Office of the Prosecutor’s preliminary examination, such as Al-Haq and Al Mezan, have been subjected to threats and other apparent acts of intimidation and interference”. The letter also noted that the Apartheid Convention, which should be used a guide in interpreting the Rome Statute, specifically lists as an “inhuman act” of apartheid, the “persecution of organizations and persons by depriving them of fundamental rights and freedoms, because they oppose apartheid”. In addition, the letters stated that “when the Court and its staff were threatened and sanctioned, by the Trump administration under US Executive Order 13928, civil society and human rights defenders from across the world, including ourselves, stood up for the Court and called on the threats to stop and sanctions to be rescinded.” It further clarified that “Palestinian CSOs have played a vital role in the defence of justice and human rights and played a pivotal role in achieving the State of Palestine’s accession to the Rome Statute.”  

The letters also called on the ICC Prosecutor and the ASP President to support Palestinian CSOs and asked them “to respond to Israel’s latest attacks on Palestinian CSOs and defend human rights defenders who cooperate with the Court.” It further noted that Palestinian CSOs will “continue to be active stakeholders of the Rome Statute system, continue [their] cooperation with the Court and support its investigation into the Situation in the State of Palestine.”

The letter to the ICC Prosecutor called on him, as part of his ongoing investigation, to:

  1. Publicly condemn and call for the rescinding of Israel’s designations of Palestinian CSOs;
  2. Publicly affirm that the alleged crimes committed during Israel’s military offensive on Gaza in August 2022 will be scrutinized as part of his investigation into the Situation in Palestine;
  3. Urgently expedite his investigation into the Situation of Palestine, including the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution;
  4. Issue preventive statements to deter Israeli practices that may contribute to ongoing crimes against humanity and war crimes, entailing that all alleged crimes committed in Palestine, including the persecution of Palestinian organisations as an inhumane act of the crime against humanity of apartheid, will be examined by his office and included in its current investigation;
  5. Operating under Part 9 of the Rome Statute, call upon Jordan and Palestine, as ICC States Parties, and other non-state parties, including Egypt, to cooperate with his Office in facilitating the opening of a country office in Palestine, and in arranging an urgent visit to Palestine, especially to Gaza; and
  6. Take appropriate action, within the confines of the exercise of his mandate under the Rome Statute, with a view towards preventing and deterring the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the situation in Palestine.

The letter to the ASP President called on her to:

  1. Send a letter to the Israeli authorities to condemn their attacks on Palestinian CSOs and demand their unlawful designations be rescinded;
  2. Publicly condemn Israel’s designations of and threats against Palestinian CSOs and defend the human rights defenders and CSOs cooperating with the ICC;
  3. Inform the ASP Bureau and ICC States Parties of the threats and sanctions against Palestinian CSOs and encourage them to express their support and condemn measures; and
  4. Implement the ASP Presidency’s proposal for the implementation of recommendation 169 of the Independent Expert Review adopted by the bureau on 29 July 2022.


  • Read the open letter sent to the ICC Prosecutor here
  • Read the open letter sent to the ASP President here.  


The list of signatories on both letters:

  1. Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Mankind (Al-Haq)
  2. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights
  3. Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (Addameer)
  4. Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P)
  5. Bisan Center for Research and Development (Bisan Center)
  6. The Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)
  7. The Union of Palestinian Women Committees (UPWC)
  8. Health Work Committees (HWC)
  9. Abdel ـ Shafi Community Health Association (ACHA)
  10. Act for Conflict Resolution
  11. Afaq Jadeeda Association
  12. Afkar Foundation for Educational and Cultural Development
  13. Agricultural Guiding and Awareness Society
  14. Aisha Association for Woman & Child Protection
  15. Al Awda Health and Community Association
  16. Al Foukhary Association for Development and Culture
  17. Al Mada Foundation for Community Development through the Arts
  18. Al Najda Social Association
  19. Al Sattar Garbee Association for Developing Countryside and Farmer
  20. Alahleya Society for Development of Palm and Dates
  21. Alanqaa Association for Community Development
  22. Al-Atta Charitable Society
  23. Al-Awda Center for Childhood and the Youth Rehabilitation
  24. Al-Dameer Association for Human Rights –Gaza
  25. Al-Ghad al-Jadid Center for Palestinian Democratic Youth
  26. AL-Karmel Cultural and Social Development Association
  27. Almanal Society for Developing the Rural Women
  28. Almuntada Cultural Center in Beit Annan
  29. Alrowwad for cultural and arts society
  30. Al-Taghreed Society for Culture and Art
  31. American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
  32. Amnesty International
  33. Applied Research Institute/ ARIJ
  34. Arab Agricultural Engineers Association.
  35. Arab Center for Agricultural Development
  36. Arab Centre for Agricultural Development (ACAD) /Ramallah – Gaza
  37. Arab Women's Union Soceity
  38. Asociación Americana de Juristas/ American Association of Jurists (AAJ)
  39. Asociación Venezolana de Juristas, Venezuela.
  40. Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine (AURDIP)
  41. Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS)
  42. Association Switzerland Palestine
  43. Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children
  44. BADIL - Palestinian Resource Center for Residency and Refugee Rights
  45. Bait Al Mostaqbal Association
  46. Basma Society for Culture and Arts
  47. BDS Netherlands
  48. Belgian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (BACBI), Belgium.
  49. Boycott Israel Network (UK)
  50. Burj Alluqluq Social Center Society
  51. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies.
  52. Canadian BDS Coalition
  53. Canadians for Peace and Justice in Kashmir (CPJK) 
  54. CAPJPO-EuroPalestine (France)
  55. Care for Children with Special Needs Society- Nablus
  56. Care Project Association
  57. Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights
  58. Center for Laboural Studies
  59. Central Blood Bank Society
  60. Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR)
  61. Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO)
  62. Child Care and Mother Guidance Association
  63. Crystal Palace Friends of Palestine
  64. Deir El Balah Social & Cultural Center
  65. Democracy and Workers' Rights Center
  66. Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN)
  67. Dr Haider Abdel Shafi Center for Culture and Development
  68. ECCP - European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine
  69. Economic and Social Development Center of Palestine
  70. El Amal Rehabilitation Society--Rafah
  71. El- Maghazi Cultural Center
  72. El Wafaa Charitable Society
  73. El Wedad Society for Community Rehabilitation
  74. Elia Youth Foundation
  75. European Legal Support Center (ELSC)
  76. Family Planning and Protection Association
  77. Football against Apartheid 
  78. Future Builders Forum
  79. Future Youth Foundation
  80. Gaza Community Mental Health Program
  81. Gaza Culture & Development Group
  82. General Federation of Palestinian Handicapped
  83. Ghassan Kanafani Development
  84. Giuristi Democratici
  85. Good Shepherd Collective
  86. Hadaf Center For Human Rights
  87. Hanan for Culture and Social Development Association
  88. Hawwa' Center for Culture and Arts
  89. Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute
  90. Human Rights and Democracy Media Center "Shams"
  91. Human Rights Watch
  92. Indian Association of Lawyers
  93. International Association of Democratic Lawyers
  94. International Centre of Justice for Palestinians
  95. International Commission of Jurists, the Norwegian section (ICJ Norway)
  96. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
  97. Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign
  98. Jabalia Rehabilitation Society
  99. Jerusalem Legal Aid Center
  100. Jewish Network for Palestine (UK)
  101. Jewish Voice for Peace
  102. Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council
  103. Just Peace Advocates/Mouvement Pour Une Paix Juste
  104. Kairos Sabeel Foundation Netherlands
  105. Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center
  106. Khuza'a Permaculture Center Association
  107. Labor Resources Center
  108. Land Research Center
  109. Leeds Palestine Solidarity Campaign
  110. Liverpool Friends of Palestine
  111. Ma'an Development Center/Gaza
  112. Ma'an Development Center/Ramallah
  113. Medical Relief Association
  114. Mothers' School Society
  115. MRAP (Mouvement contre le Racisme et pour l'Amitié entre les Peuples)
  116. Muwatin Institute for Democracy and Human Rights
  117. National Lawyers Guild International (U.S.)
  118. National Society for Rehabilitation
  119. Nawa for Culture and Arts Association
  120. Nederlands Palestina Komitee
  121. New Weapons Research Group. Odv, Italy
  122. Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO-Norway)
  123. Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees
  124. Novact (Spain)
  125. Organización Sures
  126. Palestine Committee of Norway
  127. Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC)
  128. Palestinian Agricultural Development Association
  129. Palestinian Association for Development and Construction (PADR)
  130. Palestinian Businesswomen's Association
  131. Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA)
  132. Palestinian Center for Growth and Human Development
  133. Palestinian Center of Organic Agriculture
  134. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
  135. Palestinian Counselling Center
  136. Palestinian Developmental Women Studies Association
  137. Palestinian Farmers Union
  138. Palestinian Hydrology Group
  139. Palestinian Society of Hemophilia Diseases
  140. Palestinian Woman’s Union
  141. Palestinian Working Women Society for Development
  142. Palestinian Youth Union
  143. PAX Organisation for Peace (PAX)
  144. Perdana Global Peace Foundation.
  145. PNGO Coalition
  146. Popular Art Centre
  147. Protecting Palestinian Families (UK)
  148. Public Aid Society
  149. Right to Live Society
  150. Rural Women’s Development Society
  151. Sadaka-the Ireland Palestine Alliance
  152. Sareyyet Ramallah-First Ramallah Group
  153. Sawa Foundation "All women are together today and tomorrow"
  154. Science & Culture Center
  155. SE London and Lewisham Friends of Palestine
  156. Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign (UK)
  157. Siwar for Culture and Arts Society
  158. Society for the Care of Disabled Families
  159. Society of Remedial Education Centre
  160. Suds – Associació Internacional de Solidaritat i Cooperacció (Spain)
  161. Tamer Institute for Community Education / Gaza
  162. Teacher Creativity Center
  163. Thalassemia Patients Friends' Society
  164. The Assembly Benevolent of Operation
  165. The Culture and Free Thought Association
  166. The Democracy and Workers' Rights Centre/Gaza
  167. The Eastern Association for Agriculture
  168. The European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP)
  169. The National Commission for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Rule of Law "Istiqlal"
  170. The National Society for Democracy and Law
  171. The Norwegian Initiative Defend International Law
  172. The Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs
  173. The Palestinian Center for Peace and Democracy
  174. The Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession
  175. The Palestinian Hydrology Group/Gaza
  176. The Palestinian Institute for Communication and Development
  177. The Palestinian Women’s Development Center
  178. The Palestinian Working Women Society
  179. The Rights Forum
  180. The Society for Care of the Handicapped
  181. The Society of St. Yves
  182. The Society of Women Graduates in Gaza Strip
  183. Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture
  184. Trocaire
  185. UJFP (Union juive française pour la paix) 
  186. Union of Health Care Committees
  187. Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees - Gaza.
  188. Wassel Center for Youth Development
  189. Women and Family Affairs Center
  190. Women for Life Association
  191. Women in Black Vienna, Austria
  192. Women’s Studies Centre
  193. Women's Affairs Center /Gaza
  194. Women's Affairs Technical Committee
  195. Women's Center for Legal Aid and Counselling
  196. Young Women's Christian Association
  197. Youth Development Foundation
  198. Youth Development Society