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DAWN call on ICC to investigate Israel 'apartheid architect'

DAWN calls for ICC to investigate Israel's 'architect of apartheid'
3 min read
31 October, 2022
Israel military lawyer Eyal Toledano has been accused of crimes against humanity by the Arab human rights group.
Palestinians in the occupied West Bank live under effective martial law [Getty-file photo]

Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) has filed a complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC), calling for an investigation into the "architect of Israeli apartheid" Eyal Toledano for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Arab human rights group filed the submission on Monday after a months-long investigation into activities in the occupied West Bank between 2016 and 2020, when Toledano was Israel's top-ranking legal authority and effective attorney general, the group said.

The Israeli military lawyer was responsible for all of Israel's non-combat activities in the occupied West Bank during this period, including planning, which rights groups said constitute a key part of Israeli apartheid over Palestinians.

"What makes the Toledano case so appropriate for the ICC is not just the crimes involved, but the opportunity for the court to show that international crimes cannot be 'legalized' through domestic legislation," said Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man, Director of Research for Israel-Palestine at DAWN in a statement.

"Bringing to justice someone like Toledano, an engineer of Israel's apartheid, is the ICC's raison d'etre and we believe the Prosecutor will see this evidence and reach the same conclusion."

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DAWN was founded by the late journalist Jamal Khashoggi, murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. 

While many complaints have been filed against Israel's occupation and oppression of Palestinians, it is rare one is filed against an individual officer or official.

The alleged crimes took place in areas temporally and geographically within the scope of the existing ICC investigation into the Situation in Palestine.

DAWN said that as head of a legal team of 40 lawyers, Toledano oversaw the demolition of 618 homes, displacing 2,115 Palestinians, an action deemed as collective punishment by human rights groups and governments across the world.

Other acts committed by Israeli forces in the occupied territories include arbitrary restrictions on movement, facilitating the transfer of illegal Israeli settlers, advancing defacto annexations, and maintaining a system of apartheid, the group said.

"Taken in the aggregate, when carried out to maintain a system of oppression or domination, these and other crimes for which DAWN's investigation found Toledano culpable, amount to the crime of apartheid," DAWN wrote in their statement.

"Under the Rome Statute, the crime of apartheid takes place when an inhuman or inhumane act is carried out in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over another, with the intention to maintain that system." 

Toledano now works as Israel's Military Advocate General.

The Israeli military said in a statement it "thoroughly rejects" the"baseless" accusations and that its activities are carried out in accordance with international law and the ruling of the country's Supreme Court.

Israel has illegally occupied the West Bank since 1967, where it has expanded illegal settlements, detained thousands of Palestinians, and launched countless deadly raids across the Palestinian territories.

Leading human rights groups such as Amnesty International and sections of the UN have described Israel's occupation as a crime of apartheid.