Follow-up to an Open Letter to the EU leadership

25 March 2024

Dear President von der Leyen,
Dear President Michel,
Dear High Representative Borrell

We here at GIPRI in Geneva are coming back to you on the matter of a ceasefire in Gaza. We have had no response from you on our previous communications, the most recent of which dated 15th March has already been published as an open letter.
  We have noted your condemnation in recent days of Israel’s use of starvation as a weapon of war, and your acknowledgment that the famine conditions we now see in Gaza are entirely man-made as a result of Israel’s war of aggression. This is a welcome position, but it is still not strong enough.
  Why is there still no call for a ceasefire? Why no call for sanctions on Israel? Why no condemnation of the slaughter of hundreds of aid seekers murdered in cold blood?
  The EU was very quick to sanction Russia two years ago. Israel’s crimes are infinitely worse, yet there is no call from the EU for them to suspend their violations of international law.
  As our colleague Josh Paul has commented recently, “This has been an opportunity for Europe to stand up and demonstrate itself to be an important counterweight to the U.S. within the broader Western alliance. This could have been done in a way that would benefit both that alliance and help pull the US out of its intellectual and moral stupor regarding Israel/Palestine policy.
  Other than a few notable exceptions (to include Ireland, Belgium, Spain, Slovenia and Norway), the moment has been entirely missed, to the detriment of all of us.”
  It is absolutely incumbent upon you as leaders of the European Union to demand an immediate ceasefire, according to your obligations under the Rome Statute. Time is no longer on our side, as we wake up every day to the horrific news of hundreds more innocent civilians killed overnight.
  More than 13,000 children have been murdered in less than six months, and this has been on your watch. Many more are starving to death. How many more must be murdered before you say something? This is not even about Palestine anymore. It is about all of us. It is a shame and a disgrace on our collective humanity as citizens of this earth, that we have allowed such a slaughter of innocent children to take place and have done nothing to stop it.
  Please be informed that our group is preparing a draft communication to the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC (pursuant to Article 15 of the ICC Statute) on ‘Responsibility of officials of the European Union and of certain EU Member States for complicity in war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed by the Israeli Armed Forces in the Gaza Strip’, focusing on President von der Leyen at this stage. We are preparing an amicus curiae brief* to support other pending investigations concerning the ongoing genocide in Gaza.
  It appears that civil society is now obliged to go public and call for the resignation of EU officials and the initiation of legal action in international courts simply to restore moral rectitude and the adherence to established international legal frameworks.
  Unfortunately, your failed policies have so far proven unable or unwilling to prevent a genocide, from occurring in real time and in front of our eyes. We will continue to hold you accountable, and we will continue to demand that you take action and call for an immediate ceasefire until it happens.

Yours sincerely,

Jonathan O’Connor – Ireland
Gabriel Galice – France
Gilles Emmanuel Jacquet – France
Cristina Cabrejas – Spain
Soaade Messoudi – Belgium
Guy Mettan – Switzerland
Professor Alfred de Zayas – Switzerland, United States
Tim Clennon – Switzerland, United States
Pierre-Emmanuel Dupont – France

* An amicus curiae brief is a written submission to a court in which a person or organisation not involved in the proceedings can present legal arguments and a recommendation for action in a case before the court. ( European Centre for constitutional and human rights). (editor’s note)

First published by of 25 March 2024

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