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Iran Press TV

Chief ICC prosecutor affirms Palestinian statehood, says court can probe Israeli crimes

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 02 May 2020 2:45 AM

Chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda has reiterated her position affirming the statehood of Palestine, and granting the court's jurisdiction to probe Israeli war crimes against Palestinians.

"The Prosecution has carefully considered the observations of the participants and remains of the view that the Court has jurisdiction over the Occupied Palestinian Territory," Bensouda wrote in a 60-document published on Thursday.

The ICC chief argued in detail in the document that the State of Palestine – an ICC member - fulfills all required criteria to file a criminal case in the court.

The announcement was welcomed later in the day by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

"We trust that the facts of this issue will prevail and that the long-awaited investigation into war crimes committed in the territory of the State of Palestine will soon be launched," it said in a statement.

Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, who has been appointed by the Israeli regime to handle the ICC file, disregarded the ruling as being "influenced" by pro-Palestinian groups such as the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The document published on Thursday came in response to so-called amicus curiae (friends of the court) documents submitted to the court by various states, international organizations and experts offering their views on the matter in February.

Bensouda noted in the document that the submissions offered "a wide variety of perspectives" on the matter, consequentially affording "considerable legitimacy to the Court's ultimate decision".

Back on December 19, 2019, Bensouda said in a statement that the court would launch a full investigation into war crimes in the Palestinian territories, as there is a "reasonable basis" to probe into the situation in Palestine.

However, the chief prosecutor asked the ICC Pretrial Chamber to endorse her view. The chamber has yet to pronounce its final decision on the matter and is expected to do so within 120 days.

The Palestinian Authority, which signed up to the ICC in 2015, has already accepted the court's jurisdiction, but has repeatedly urged the court to act faster.

A full ICC investigation could possibly lead to charges being brought against Israeli leaders implicated in crimes against Palestinians.

Gaza, with a population of more than 1.8 million, has been under an all-out siege by the Israeli regime since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.

Millions of Palestinians have suffered under heightening Israeli controls and rights violations in the occupied West Bank.

Israel and the US have both refused to sign up to the court, which was set up in 2002 to be the only global tribunal trying the world's worst crimes, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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