ICC prosecutor opens war crimes probe in Palestinian territories
The ICC ruled in February it has jurisdiction over the situation in the Israeli occupied Palestinian territories.
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said on Wednesday she launched a formal inquiry into alleged crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories, a move strongly opposed by Israel.
Fatou Bensouda said in a statement the inquiry will be conducted “independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favour”.
“Today, I confirm the initiation by the office of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court of an investigation respecting the situation in Palestine,” Bensouda said.
“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.”
Bensouda said in 2019 there was a “reasonable basis” to open a war crimes probe into Israeli military actions in the Gaza Strip, as well as Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank.
Bensouda named the Israeli army and armed Palestinian groups such as Hamas as possible perpetrators.
Following that assessment, she asked judges to rule on the extent of the court’s jurisdiction in the troubled region.
The ICC ruled in February it had jurisdiction over the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories that Israel captured during the 1967 Middle East war.
Judges said their decision was based on jurisdictional rules in The Hague-based court’s founding documents, and it does not imply any attempt to determine statehood or legal borders.
Israel, which is not a member of the court, has rejected its jurisdiction.