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Arms in Palestine at the International Criminal Court


International Criminal Court


Armed Conflict in Palestine

Recipient State




Birchgrove Legal submitted a formal communication in March 2024 to the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The communication calls for an investigation into crimes “within the jurisdiction of the Court that may have been committed by members of the Australian government, its officials and the Leader of the Opposition” by both failing to prevent or respond to the “genocide committed by Israel against Palestinians in Gaza” and having been complicit in the “carrying out of this genocide”. These crimes are covered under by the Rome Statute of the ICC, Article 25(3)(c) and/or (d).

The communication states that there is a reasonable basis to believe that members of the Australian Parliament may have “aided, abetted or otherwise assisted in the commission of genocide or its attempted commission” by the Israeli government and the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

The communication to the OTP is under preliminary examination.

Case Analysis

This is the first formal communication to the ICC under Article 15 of the Rome Statute regarding Western leaders’ complicity in the alleged genocide unfolding in Gaza. It became appropriate to take this to the ICC because the Australian Prime Minister's Office ignored previous repeated attempts at direct communication by the plaintiffs". The significance of this communication also lies in the careful investigation and exposition of the political, diplomatic, economic and military ties between the Australian and Israeli governments and how these links have assisted the Israeli military's prosecution of alleged genocide. The communication argues that the named government and opposition figures have not only maintained these ties as Israel has committed what are claimed to be war crimes and ethnic cleansing in Gaza since October 2023, but have also used their own positions and power in a personal capacity to politically, ideologically, and materially support the Israeli military's aggression against Palestinians in Gaza, while contributing to shielding the Israeli military and government from international scrutiny and accountability. 

The evidence collection began in October 2023, with the documentation of rhetorical support and justification for Israel’s actions. Aside from moral encouragement and support, various forms of material assistance have also been documented, which elaborated on Australia’s role in sustaining Israel’s global military supply chain and surveillance capabilities. Significantly, the plaintiffs argue their evidence demonstrates that Australian government ministers and the opposition leader may have accessorial liability in facilitating Israel’s alleged genocide of Palestinians in Gaza or through providing the means to do so. Further, the collated evidence also suggested that the named individuals may have contributed to the commission of Israel’s alleged genocide through several means (noted within the communication) while knowing, or while they ought to have known, that the Israeli government and its military intended to commit such a crime. The formal communication outlines the international criminal law authorities that expand on the scope of Article 25(3)(c) and/or (d) of the Rome Statute 

This formal communication to the ICC represents a significant opportunity and milestone to hold Western political leaders responsible for their commission and support of, and accessorial liability to, heinous crimes such as genocide. It is however worth noting  – that Western leaders have never to date been brought before the ICC, often being shielded from accountability through diplomatic pressure or overwhelming political power, it is an open question as to whether the ICC will be willing to consider prosecuting Western politicians for allegedly aiding, abetting, and the commission of the gravest of crimes. 

Proceedings at the ICC are governed by the Rome Statute, which outlines and defines a series of criminal acts that fall within the jurisdiction of the court. This submission has been made pursuant to Rome Statute Article 15, which empowers the OTP to initiate investigations on the basis of information received.  

The submission to the OTP cites Rome Statute Article 25, which outlines individual criminal responsibility. The communication states that the crimes committed by the members of the Australian Parliament are covered under Article 25(3)(c) and/or (d) of the Rome Statute 

Article 25(3)(c) states that a person shall be held criminally responsible and liable for a crime within the ICC’s jurisdiction if they have “[facilitated] the commission of such a crime [by aiding, abetting or otherwise assisting] in its commission or its attempted commission, including [by] providing the means for its commission”.  

Article 25(3)(d) states that a person can be held criminally responsible if they have “in any other way [contributed] to the commission or attempted commission of such a crime by a group of persons acting with a common purpose”. 

The communication argues that the provision of political and military support in full knowledge of the intentions of the Israeli government and IDF to commit the “crime of genocide”, the named individuals’ refusal to support South Africa’s application to the ICJ, the expression of solidarity on behalf of the Australian nation with Israel, and the named individuals’ assertions of Israel’s ‘right to self-defence’ fall under the facilitation of the commission of genocide or its attempted commission under Rome Statute Article 25(3)(c). The communication also states that the Australian parliamentarians continued rhetorical, material and political support for Israel amounts to “positive action that has contributed to genocidal operations” under Rome Statute Article 25(3)(d). 

Concerned Australians instructed Birchgrove Legal, a law firm for non-profit organisations, to submit the communication.

To get in touch with the claimants and their legal representatives, please see here.


Case status


Communication to the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC

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This submission calls for an investigation into the conduct of members of the Australian government and the Leader of the Opposition for crimes that fall within Article 25(3)(c) and/or (d) of the Rome Statute for failing to “prevent or respond to the genocide committed by Israel against Palestinians in Gaza and been complicit in the carrying out of this genocide”. The communication to the OTP is under preliminary examination.

Key Case Documents

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Communiqué to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court: Conduct of members of the Parliament of Australia, in relation to the situation in Gaza, Palestine

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04 Mar 2024

Challenge 1

Communication submitted to ICC.

Read the communication here


20 May 2024

Statement of ICC Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan KC: Applications for arrest warrants in the situation in the State of Palestine

International Criminal Court

On 20 May 2024, ICC Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan KC files applications for warrants of arrest before Pre-Trial Chamber I in the Situation in the State of Palestine against Hamas leader and two senior members as well as Israel's Prime Minister and Minister of Defence.

20 March 2024

Law for Palestine Releases its Communication Submitted to the International Criminal Court: Genocide Perpetration in Gaza by Israeli War Cabinet Members

Law for Palestine

Law for Palestine submits communication to the Office of the Prosecutor (OPT) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the perpetration of the crime of genocide perpetrated by members of the Israeli war cabinet against Palestinians in Gaza.

16 January 2024

Arming the War in Israel-Palestine: Legal Considerations

Co-organised by the Arms Trade Litigation Monitor and the Forum on the Arms Trade

This event provided an opportunity to learn about and discuss some of the legal challenges asking for transparency in or a stop to the provision of weapons to Israel in the context of the current Israel-Gaza conflict, amid the broader context of increased litigation around arms transfers.

Contact & More Information

If you would like to know more about this case, please get in touch with our primary contact Moustafa Kheir (Birchgrove Legal) by email.

Find out more about the work of the claimants at their website:

Birchgrove Legal