The Hague (QNN)- The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has said she would launch a full investigation into Israeli war crimes in Palestine as soon as the court’s jurisdiction had been established.
The Palestinian Authority welcomed the decision. Meanwhile, Israel’s Netanyahu said the ICC had no jurisdiction to investigate the Palestinian Territories.
The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said a preliminary examination into alleged war crimes, opened in 2015, had provided enough information to meet all criteria for opening an investigation.
“I am satisfied that … war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip,” Bensouda said in a statement.
She said she had filed a request with judges for a jurisdictional ruling because of the contested legal status of the Palestinian territories.
“Specifically, I have sought confirmation that the ‘territory’ over which the court may exercise its jurisdiction, and which I may subject to investigation, comprises the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza,” Bensouda said.
Determining where she can investigate should be resolved before she starts an investigation “and not settled only later by judges after my investigations are completed,” she said.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed in a statement that the United States did not believe Palestinians qualified as a sovereign state and added: “We firmly oppose this and any other action that seeks to target Israel unfairly.”
The ICC has the authority to hear cases of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity committed on the territory of the 123 countries that have signed up to it. The occupation state has not joined the court but the Palestinian Authority has done so.
‘Israel’ and its ally, the United States, have both refused to sign up to the court, which was set up in 2002 to be the only global tribunal trying the world’s worst crimes.