Palestinians ask ICC to open full probe into Israeli war crimes

A rally for Palestine in downtown Syracuse

View Slideshow A rally for Palestine in downtown Syracuse. Tom Magnarelli WRVO Public Media

The ICC will be expected to accelerate the opening of a criminal investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel, added the Committee.

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.

"This step pursues justice by demanding accountability", said Maliki, adding those "responsible for the crimes, highlighted in the referral, must be held accountable for their actions without further delay".

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.

"T$3 he ICC lacks jurisdiction over the Israeli-Palestinian issue, since Israel is not a member of the court and because the Palestinian Authority is not a state", it said in a statement.

The Ministry of foreign Affairs of Israel said that the appeal of the Palestinian authority has no legal force: the conflict does not fall under the jurisdiction of the court, because the Jewish state is not a member of the court, and the Palestinian authority - a government.

Alex Whiting, a professor at Harvard Law School and former ICC prosecutor, said the Palestinian referral would have a "real effect".

The diplomatic move comes after widespread outrage in the occupied Palestinian territories and internationally over the Israeli army's killing on May 14 of 62 unarmed Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip, in what was described by rights groups as a massacre.

A rally for Palestine in downtown Syracuse
View Slideshow A rally for Palestine in downtown Syracuse. Tom Magnarelli WRVO Public Media

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas said that by moving USA embassy, Trump had "canceled [the U.S.] role in the peace process" and called the building itself a "new settlement" in Jerusalem.

Israel has never ratified the Rome Statute but the United Nations secretary general accepted the accession of the "State of Palestine" in 2015.

Hundreds of Palestinian citizens of Israel demonstrated on Saturday evening in Haifa in solidarity with Gaza, an AFP reporter said.

Israel claims the West Bank is not occupied because it was captured from Jordan, not the Palestinians, and Jordan does not make a claim to the territory.

Commenting on the Palestinian referral to the ICC on Tuesday, the Israeli foreign ministry said the request is "legally invalid".

According to its website, the court is now investigating 11 "situations", the bulk of them in sub-Saharan Africa, involving allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The latter has also routinely been threatened by the U.S. and Israel not to make any moves in the ICC.

Initially, the prosecutor may use open sources to build a case, and it is then up to the court's pretrial judges to decide whether the evidence is sufficient to approve a criminal investigation.

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