ICC Will Continue Investigating Israeli War Crimes Regardless of Oslo Accords

Israel is lobbying against ICC investigation. (Photo: File)

The International Criminal Court (ICC) will proceed with its investigation into Israel over its policies regarding the Palestinians despite the continued application of the 1993 Oslo Accords, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced yesterday.

This came in response to a May 27 request from the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber to clarify the status of the Oslo Accords and its impact on a war crimes probe against Israel.

Some had questioned whether the international court could probe Israeli crimes claiming the Oslo Accords gives Israel jurisdiction over criminal issues in the occupied West Bank, proving that there is no State of Palestine to send a case to the ICC, the Jerusalem Post explained.

The PA said it would no longer be bound by the Oslo Accords if Israel went ahead with its planned annexation of the occupied West Bank next month.

Bensouda further expressed concern about the impact of Israeli annexation and stated that such a move by Israel would not have legal validity.

“If Israel proceeds with annexation, a material breach of the agreements between the two sides, then it will have annulled any remnants of the Oslo Accords and all other agreements concluded between them,” said Palestine’s Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki.

“The State of Palestine will continue to cooperate with institutions of international law, including the ICC, to fight crimes and to hold accountable perpetrators of serious crimes against the Palestinian people in order to achieve justice,” Maliki added.

Israel has until June 24 to reply to the prosecutor’s recommendation, but may choose not to do so as not to give the ICC legitimacy, the Jerusalem Post said.

In December, the ICC’s office of the prosecutor concluded a five-year preliminary examination of the “situation in the state of Palestine”, concluding there were reasonable grounds to believe that war crimes have been, or are being, committed in the occupied West Bank.

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.

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)

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