Unveiling the Intellectual Blinders: A Critical Analysis of Karim Khan’s ICC Stance

In her latest article, “Brothers-in-Harms,” Melanie Phillips embarks on a profound journey to dissect the apparent lack of critical thinking exhibited by Karim Khan, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Phillips, renowned for her incisive commentary, delves into Khan’s recent statements and interviews, unravelling the intricate web of moral relativism and political bias that seems to cloud his judgment.

Phillips begins by scrutinizing Khan’s comparison between the actions of Hamas and the IRA, a comparison that, upon closer inspection, reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of terrorism and its implications. She quotes Khan’s interview with Christina Lamb from The Sunday Times (£), where Khan draws parallels between the IRA’s terrorist campaign and Hamas’s onslaught against Israel:

“He compares the Hamas onslaught against Israel with the IRA’s terrorist campaign against Britain… You can’t do that.”

While acknowledging the IRA’s reprehensible acts of violence, Phillips highlights a crucial distinction:

“What the IRA did not aim to do was murder all British people and have Ireland conquer England, Scotland and Wales.”

Phillips further dissects Khan’s assertion of moral equivalence, where he seemingly equates civilian casualties resulting from deliberate terrorist attacks with those occurring inadvertently during legitimate acts of self-defence. Examining previous ICC cases and precedents makes it apparent whether Khan’s approach is consistent with the court’s jurisprudence and international legal standards on terrorism. She quotes Khan’s statement on the need for equal moral outrage:

“Whether those are the rights of Jewish victims or Palestinians, whether Muslim, Christian, or of no belief, we must have the same moral outrage, love, care, and concern — the point is they are all human beings.”

As Phillips aptly points out, this oversimplified view undermines the very essence of justice, blurring the line between victim and victimizer, right and wrong.

Khan’s reliance on a panel of advisors, some of whom harbour explicit biases against Israel, raises serious concerns about the impartiality and objectivity of the ICC’s decision-making process. Phillips exposes the inherent danger of ideological echo chambers within international legal institutions, where preconceived notions can influence prosecutorial decisions and undermine the pursuit of justice. Quoting Khan’s defence of one of the panel members:

“Khan defended one of the panel members, 94-year-old American-Israeli lawyer and judge Theodor Meron, by saying that he can’t be antisemitic because he’s Jewish.”

Drawing attention to the recent ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding the situation in Gaza, Phillips sheds light on the pervasive misinformation and skewed narratives perpetuated by mainstream media outlets. By analyzing alternative perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including viewpoints from scholars, policymakers, and activists, it becomes evident that there are diverse interpretations of the conflict and the actions of Hamas and Israel. She unmasks the underlying agendas driving these narratives, quoting Joshua Rozenberg:

“Several ICJ judges criticized the paragraph as ambiguous — and some of their comments merely added to the confusion.”

Phillips calls for a return to intellectual honesty and moral clarity in international discourse. She urges readers to question prevailing narratives, challenge entrenched biases, and demand accountability from those entrusted with upholding justice on the global stage. Only through such vigilance can the true spirit of justice and human rights be restored, ensuring a future where righteousness triumphs over ideology and truth prevails over propaganda.


  1. Melanie Phillips, “Brothers-in-harms,” Substack, May 27, 2024, melaniephillips.substack.com

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