June 16th, 2024

Trudeau mum on International Criminal Court prosecution request as MPs react

By The Canadian Press on May 21, 2024.

International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Karim Khan speaks at a press conference during his first official visit to Canada on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, on Friday, May 5, 2023. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has yet to join global peers in weighing in on Monday's push by the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israeli officials as well as Hamas. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not yet weighed in on a push from the International Criminal Court to prosecute his Israeli counterpart and others over the war in the Gaza Strip.

The court’s chief prosecutor requested arrest warrants Monday for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his defence minister and senior Hamas leaders.

The U.S. rejected the move to implicate Israel alongside Hamas, while France and Belgium supported the decision and Germany said it respects the court’s independence.

Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly have yet to comment, but some vocal Liberal MPs are issuing statements.

Iqra Khalid, who spearheaded a parliamentary motion condemning Islamophobia, says Canada must respect the ICC and its independence.

Anthony Housefather argues the decision is drawing a moral equivalency “between the leaders of a recognized terrorist organization and the elected leaders of a democratic state.”

Their colleague Salma Zahid says Ottawa should support the ICC’s legal process, arguing its role is “not to judge moral equivalence, but to impartially consider the evidence.”

The Liberals and NDP passed a parliamentary motion in March that calls on Canada to “support the work of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.”

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says that Trudeau “must respect his promise to Canadians.”

Trudeau is slated to speak with media Tuesday afternoon in Philadelphia.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 21, 2024.

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