ICC opens probe into alleged crimes in occupied Palestine

EYEAFRICA TV: Hague, NETHERLANDS:-The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda said on Wednesday that her Office has started an investigation into crimes allegedly committed in occupied Palestinian territory.

“I confirm the initiation by the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court of an investigation respecting the Situation in Palestine,” she said in a statement.

“The investigation will cover crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court that are alleged to have been committed in the Situation since 13 June 2014, the date to which reference is made in the Referral of the Situation to my Office,” she added. 

The probe follows the 5 February 2021 decision, that the Court may exercise its criminal jurisdiction in the Situation in Palestine, and that the territorial scope of this jurisdiction extends to Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. 

“Such matters, which the Chamber did not decide, and on which my Office took no position, remain to be determined in bilateral discussions between Israeli and Palestinian authorities in the context of a negotiated agreement,” she said. 

The Prosecutor also went on to note that investigations take time and that they must be grounded objectively in facts and law. 

Ms. Bensouda also highlighted that the “central concern” must be for the victims of crime, both Palestinian and Israeli, arising from the long cycle of violence and insecurity that has caused deep suffering and despair on all sides. 

“The Office is aware of the wider concern, respecting this Situation, for international peace and security,” she continued. 

Ms. Bensouda also said that her Office counted on the support and cooperation of the parties, as well as all States Parties to the Rome Statute, in carrying out its work. 

“My Office welcomes the opportunity to engage with both the Government of Palestine and the Government of Israel, to determine how justice may best be served within a framework of complementary domestic and international action.

“In this way, we can hope to achieve some measure of accountability and justice for the benefit of Palestinian and Israeli victims of Rome Statute crimes,” the ICC Prosecutor added. 

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