Palestine welcomes ICC decision to probe Israeli crimes against Palestinians

RAMALLAH, The Palestinian Foreign Ministry has welcomed the announcement by the Prosecutor of the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) on opening an investigation into the situation in Palestine and Israeli crimes against the Palestinians in the occupied territories.

“The State of Palestine welcomes the announcement of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on concluding the preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine and the Prosecutor’s determination that all statutory requirements for opening an investigation have been met,” said the ministry in a statement on Friday.

It added that Palestine also took note of the Prosecutor’s request for a ruling from Pre-trial Chamber I, under article 19(3) of the Rome Statute, on the matter of the Court’s territorial jurisdiction in the situation in Palestine.

“Palestine welcomes this step as a long overdue step to move the process forward towards an investigation, after nearly five long and difficult years of preliminary examination,” it noted.

The Foreign Ministry suggested that Palestine noted that the Office of the Prosecutor already stated that it has jurisdiction over the entirety of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and that there are reasonable basis to believe that crimes have been committed therein. “Finally, the State of Palestine reaffirms that it remains committed to upholding its legal obligations as a State Party to the Rome Statute and will continue its steadfast record of cooperation with the Court,” it concluded. Earlier today, the ICC announced that the situation in occupied Palestinian Territories should be investigated.

“Today, I announce that following a thorough, independent and objective assessment of all reliable information available to my Office, the preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine has concluded with the determination that all the statutory criteria under the Rome Statute for the opening of an investigation have been met,” ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement at The Hague.

She noted that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine, pursuant to article 53 (1) of the Statute.

“In brief, I am satisfied that war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip,” she added.

Source: Kuwait News Agency