The International Criminal Court has responded to Israeli criticisms over the prosecutor’s decision to probe war crimes allegedly committed in the occupied West Bank, besieged Gaza, and occupied East Jerusalem.
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda was quoted on the court’s official Twitter account as saying that “misinformation and smear campaigns do not change facts about the conduct of my Office’s work concerning the situation in Palestine.”
— Int'l Criminal Court (@IntlCrimCourt) May 8, 2020
“Fact: my office is executing its mandate concerning Palestine situation with utmost professionalism, independence & objectivity in strict conformity with the Rome Statute. Any insinuation or assertion to the contrary is simply misled & unfounded.”
In January 2020, the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber invited amicus curiae (friends of the court) submissions on whether Palestine is a state that can transfer criminal jurisdiction over its territory to the Hague.
On April 30, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda reiterated that Palestine is a state, and therefore the International Criminal Court (ICC) has legal jurisdiction to rule on alleged war crimes committed there.
"For the Palestinian people, the long-denied justice cannot arrive soon enough."
Understatement of the century.https://t.co/LUP57o4nzN
— Sandra Watfa (@sandrawatfa) May 11, 2020
The statement was a firm response to intense lobbying efforts by Israel and its supporters, especially Germany, to delegitimize the proceeding altogether.
However, the ball is now in the court of the ICC pre-trial chamber, which is expected to respond to concerns over the jurisdiction question in the coming weeks.
(Palestine Chronicle, MEMO, Social Media)