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ICC to Investigate War Crimes in Gaza

ICC to Investigate War Crimes in GazaICC to Investigate War Crimes in Gaza

The International Criminal Court has launched an inquiry into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories, opening a path to possible charges against Israelis.

In a statement on Friday, prosecutors said they would examine “in full independence and impartiality” crimes that may have occurred since June 13 last year. This allows the court to delve into the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza in July-August 2014 during which more than 2,100 Palestinians and 73 Israelis were killed, Reuters said in a report.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has confirmed the Palestinians - whose peace talks with Israel have collapsed - will formally become an ICC member on April 1 at their request, a move strongly opposed by Israel and the US.

“The case is now in the hands of the court,” said Nabil Abuznaid, head of the Palestinian delegation in The Hague. “It is a legal matter now and we have faith in the court system.”

Prosecutors will assess evidence of alleged crimes and determine if they are of sufficient gravity and scale to warrant charges against individuals on either side.

The United States state department said it strongly disagreed with the move. The US has argued that Palestine is not a state and therefore not eligible to join the ICC.

“We strongly disagree with the ICC prosecutor’s action,” spokesman Jeff Rathke said in a statement late on Friday. “The place to resolve the differences between the parties is through direct negotiation, not unilateral actions by either side.”

The examination was also branded as “an outrage” by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Israel completely rejects the ICC prosecutor’s announcement about opening a preliminary examination on the basis of the outrageous request by the Palestinian Authority,” he said in a written statement.

 

Financialtribune.com