Palestinians ask ICC to probe Israel's 'crimes'

Rodiano Bonacci
Mag 22, 2018

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki will submit a referral to the International Criminal Court on the Israeli crimes and violations of the Palestinian peoples' rights.

Mr Al Maliki was accompanied by a police escort and ushered into the ICC, where he was met by court officials at the door.

In a summary report of the court's activities for 2017, the ICC said it had progressed in its work to determine "whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation".

Last week, Bensouda announced that the Court's officials were watching the unrest in Gaza closely and would "take any action warranted" to prosecute crimes.

We call on the global community to assume its legal, human and moral responsibilities to put an end to the decades-long Palestinian suffering by guaranteeing the rights of the Palestinian people under worldwide law and worldwide humanitarian law.

"The State of Palestine believes there is sufficient and insurmountable evidence available to the Prosecutor to justify opening an investigation immediately", it added.

In a statement issued after the Palestinians called for an immediate investigation, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Tuesday noted that she has been conducting a preliminary probe since January 2015 to establish whether she should open a full-blown investigation.

An IDF tank targeted a Hamas observation post in the southern Gaza Strip on Monday in response to a cross-border incident in which a number of Palestinians infiltrated Israel and set an unmanned IDF post on fire.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki speaks during a press conference at the International Criminal Court
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki speaks during a press conference at the International Criminal Court

The request could give the court a wider remit to investigate alleged crimes in the region.

"Israel maintains, expands and protects the settlement regime by committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people", the statement added. The Israeli policy of mass arbitrary detention and torture also fall under the court's jurisdiction.

Any charges would need to be enforced by member states, as the court does not have a law enforcement arm and can only indict suspects.

It would be interesting to discover if the ICC would be prepared to look into the legal status of the Israeli settlements based on the Geneva Convention which bans an occupying state from transferring its civilian population into the occupied area. The Israeli military captured the territory in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and claimed the territory is not occupied as it was captured from Jordan.

Israel claims east Jerusalem as an inseparable part of its capital - though its annexation is not worldwide recognised.

This is the first time such a submission has been made by Palestine. It is in line with steps adopted by the State of Palestine over the past years, in pursuit of justice and accountability, including joining global human rights instruments.

It notes that in the case of Gaza, for instance, it uprooted all settlements there when it withdrew in 2005.

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