‘Utmost Urgency’ – ICC’s Khan Seeks to Accelerate Investigation in Palestine

Why does the ICC keep failing Palestine? (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Karim Khan, Chief Prosecutor for the ICC, has appointed former military prosecutor, Andrew Cayley, to oversee the investigation as he seeks to accelerate the case.

The Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) has moved to accelerate the investigation into alleged war crimes committed in the Palestinian territories which was launched in 2021, according to British newspaper, The Guardian.

The news comes as Karim Khan appointed senior British lawyer and former military prosecutor, Andrew Cayley, to oversee the investigation, the daily reported on Monday.

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Khan has put all parties involved in the war “on notice,” The Guardian said and also indicated that his office is “actively investigating” the current situation in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Last month, Khan expressed deep concern about Israel’s “potential ground incursion by Israeli forces in Rafah.”

He said his office has an “ongoing and active investigation” into the situation.

“This is being taken forward as a matter of the utmost urgency, with a view to bringing to justice those responsible for Rome Statute crimes,” he said in a post on X.

The investigation, however, presents “significant legal and operational challenges for Khan”, The Guardian reported.

Israel does not accept the ICC’s jurisdiction and its political leaders have been openly hostile towards it, the daily said.

“It is understood Khan has attempted to arrange visits to Gaza but Israel has refused him entry,” it added.

War Crimes in Iraq

The paper said a spokesperson for Khan confirmed that Cayley has taken on the role of “principal trial lawyer overseeing the unit of investigators responsible” for the case.

In his role as the UK’s chief military prosecutor,  according to the paper, “Cayley played a key role in a process that resulted in the former ICC prosecutor deciding in 2020 to abandon a long-running investigation into allegations that UK military personnel committed war crimes in Iraq.”

South Africa Refers Israel to ICC for War Crimes Investigation

When the then chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced the investigation in 2021, she reportedly said the court would into “crimes within the jurisdiction of the court that are alleged to have been committed” since June 13, 2014.

The ICC investigates and prosecutes individuals accused of crimes such as the crime of genocide and crimes against humanity. It is separate from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) where Israel is currently on trial for genocide against Palestinians due to its military assault on the Gaza Strip since October 7.

In November 2023, South Africa, along with a few other countries, referred Israel to the ICC for an investigation into alleged war crimes committed during its assault on the Gaza Strip.

“We have put through a referral because we believe that war crimes are being committed there,” the South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, said.

Over 31,000 Killed

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 31,112 Palestinians have been killed, and 72,760 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

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Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire.’

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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