Practice Relating to Rule 161. International Cooperation in Criminal Proceedings
Israel’s Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) states:
In 1998 Israel signed the Rome Statute; however, in a Government resolution in June 2002, Israel announced that it did not intend to ratify the Statute. Today, the State of Israel is not a member of the Criminal Tribunal at The Hague, and has sent a letter to the United Nations announcing that it does not intend to ratify the Tribunal’s Statute. Various entities have announced that they will forward complaints to the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague relating to various acts performed by Israel in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The State of Israel does not perpetrate war crimes and its acts are covered by routine legal advice. If any Israeli soldier commits any of the crimes addressed by the Statute, Israel itself will put him on trial.
The Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) is a second edition of the Manual on the Laws of War (1998).
According to the Report on the Practice of Israel, Israel has signed extradition agreements with numerous countries. It has also cooperated with other countries for the extradition, mainly for trial in Israel, of suspected Nazi war criminals.
Israel’s Manual on the Laws of War (1998) recalls the experiences of the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials, stating: “The central importance of the Nuremberg Trials … is in creating a precedent for the execution of judgment against war criminals by the whole of humanity, without leaving the work to prejudiced internal courts.”
The manual also mentions the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Referring to the International Criminal Court, it states:
One of the biggest difficulties faced by the Hague court for judging Yugoslavia’s war criminals is the extradition of war criminals. The permanent court has been empowered to demand extradition of war criminals into its hands, so that such criminals will not find a haven …
Israel is in a dilemma regarding the Rome Constitution. On the one hand, in light of the Holocaust experience, Israel has a special interest in seeing war criminals brought to justice. On the other hand, there is a fear that the court will serve as a lever for demanding the extradition and trial of IDF [Israel Defense Force] soldiers.
Upon signature of the 1998 ICC Statute, Israel stated:
Being an active consistent supporter of the concept of an International Criminal Court, and its realization in the form of the [1998 ICC] Statute, the Government of the State of Israel is proud to thus express its acknowledgment of the importance, and indeed indispensability, of an effective court for the enforcement of the rule of law and the prevention of impunity.