Within days of Israel commencing its now ten-month-long killing spree of the Palestinians within the walled-in region of Gaza, that nation’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu put out a call for its 360,000 army reservists to show up for duty, and that entailed around 1,000 Australians with dual citizenship.

Yet, even though war crimes and the concept of genocide were being discussed at the highest levels in Canberra within days of the Israeli assault on Gaza in early October, the government failed to address Australians heading over to the slaughter and the media simply painted them as heroes.

The Australian Centre for International Justice, however, penned a letter addressed to the home affairs minister, the attorney general and the AFP commissioner in December, outlining that citizens fighting with the Israeli military is highly problematic due to its history of international law violations.

Signed by ACIJ executive director Rawan Arraf, the letter stressed that our nation has failed to adequately warn those partaking in Gaza as to the criminal consequences they may face, as well as to advise that Australia has an obligation to investigate these people in regard to war crimes.

Yet, last week, The Guardian reported that the Australian Border Force had intervened to ask three Australian nationals travelling to Israel, as to whether they planned to take part in the Israeli military action in Gaza.

The article further noted that the Australian government had warned Australians about the consequences of partaking in the fighting in Gaza, in advising them “to carefully consider their legal obligations and ensure their conduct does not constitute a criminal offence”.

This vague warning, however, fails to mention that our nation ratified the Rome Statute in 2002, and since then, the core international crimes of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity appear domestically in the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), and do apply to crimes committed in Gaza.

Sydney Criminal Lawyers spoke to Australian Centre for International Justice executive director Rawan Arraf about the government’s oversight in failing to adequately address this issue in any way, that this nation’s failure to deal with war crimes is habitual and how universal jurisdiction works.

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At PracticeSource.com and The House of Butter Blog we have been writing about lawyers, legal publishing and legal information on a daily basis for over 20 years.

We have decided to compile what we think, are, the best law / legal blogs written across language by lawyers, barristers & law firm (teams) from around the world.