There is no alternative to peace based on justice


After the 7 October 2023 attacks by Hamas against civilians in Israel, we mourned the loss of so many lives. Since the subsequent attacks by Israeli forces in Gaza, we are mourning the loss of so many Palestinian civilian lives. The situation is unbearable and peace is urgently needed – but not currently in sight. We know that justice comes too late and is never enough, but nevertheless, crucial and important steps can and must be undertaken immediately.

Thus, we are demanding impartial and independent investigations by international and national prosecutors and courts into the situation in Palestine and Israel.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has already confirmed its jurisdiction over the conflict, and since 2021, an open, ongoing investigation into alleged crimes, such as war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed since June 2014 in the occupied Palestinian territories, comprising Gaza and the West Bank including East Jerusalem, as well as those committed by Palestinian nationals in Israel, has been underway. It is therefore confirmed that the ICC could begin serious investigations into crimes committed in the current war without any additional procedural requirements. ECCHR welcomes the ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan’s visit to Egypt last week and his expressed commitment to action and investigations. International law and justice, “must be directed towards the most vulnerable,” he said. It is crucial that the ICC promptly fulfills its investigative and prosecutorial duties in an independent, impartial and objective manner. Germany and all state parties must urgently support the Court’s efforts, politically, financially, as well as through referrals, complementary national investigations, and/or secondments of staff. Karim Khan already demanded this long before the recent escalation of violence began, but many years have already been lost. The legitimacy of the Court, and the international legal system, depends on concrete actions.

For decades, Palestinian human rights defenders, supported by their international partners and by Israeli human rights organizations, have sought recourse with international legal mechanisms in the face of countless human rights violations during the occupation, of which the 16-year blockade of Gaza has been an integral part. But their efforts have not triggered comprehensive investigations or prosecutions and, instead, have met with overwhelming impunity resulting from structural injustices.

Our solidarity goes out to our colleagues at the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, including director Raji Sourani, whose home and neighborhood in Gaza were destroyed by Israeli airstrikes. While he and his family survived, we remain fearful for their lives, as well as those of all our PCHR colleagues and their families.

Justice – on an international and national level – cannot be selective. If law is to retain any legitimacy, it must apply equally to all.

Wer wir sind

Dem Unrecht das Recht entgegensetzen – das ist das erklärte Ziel und die tägliche Arbeit des European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR).

Das ECCHR ist eine gemeinnützige und unabhängige Menschenrechtsorganisation mit Sitz in Berlin. Sie wurde 2007 von Wolfgang Kaleck und weiteren internationalen Jurist*innen gegründet, um die Rechte, die in der Allgemeinen Erklärung der Menschenrechte sowie anderen Menschenrechtsdeklarationen und nationalen Verfassungen garantiert werden, mit juristischen Mitteln durchzusetzen.

Gemeinsam mit Betroffenen und Partner*innen weltweit nutzen wir juristische Mittel, damit die Verantwortlichen für Folter, Kriegsverbrechen, sexualisierte Gewalt, wirtschaftliche Ausbeutung und abgeschottete Grenzen nicht ungestraft davonkommen.


Maria Bause
T: +49 30 69819797

Philipp Jedamzik
T: +49 30 29680591