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Minister of Palestinian Foreign Affairs plans to visit the Hague

Speaking during a TV show hosted by Palestine TV, Minister of Palestinian Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Riyad al-Maliki said that he will be visiting The Hague soon.

Al-Maliki said talks will be held with the ICC chief prosecutor about the next steps in the way to investigate Israeli war crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

He also said the two sides will discuss the date for starting practical steps on the ground, the measures required from the Palestinian side, and the timing for the arrival of the first delegations of the Court for the launch of the investigation.

The Foreign Minister said the Palestinian side was conducting an evaluation of the overall situation and setting up an action plan and a strategy to work with the Court.

He noted that an assessment of the mechanism of action and the required human, expert, local, Arab and international needs was being made ahead of the launch of the ICC investigation.

Al-Malki added that the Palestinian side will also need to adapt domestic laws with the Rome Statute regarding the opening of investigations at the level of local Palestinian courts and on other matters.

He said that if ‘Israel’ and the United States planned to go to the UN Security Council in order to take a step to suspend the investigation for a period of 12 months, the Palestinian side will most likely be able to thwart such a step through “friends” in the Security Council who have the right of veto.

Al-Maliki pointed out that the new US administration was hesitant about redressing the Trump administration’s fault of imposing penalties on the ICC and suspending the relationship with the Palestinian side.

In this regard, Al-Maliki called on the new US administration to explain and justify this hesitation, saying, “We still believe that the new US administration has the desire to reassess the US-Palestinian relationship and return it to its correct path, and are awaiting practical steps on the ground.”

The United States has firmly opposed the ICC’s decision saying it’s “deeply disappointed by this decision” and that the “ICC has no jurisdiction over this matter.”

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda said on Wednesday that she launched a formal probe into war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.

“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, the date to which reference is made in the Referral of the Situation to my Office,” she added.

Israel is not a member of the ICC and neither is the US. The Palestinians joined the court in 2015.

Last year, the Trump administration imposed sanctions against ICC officials, including revoking chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s entry visa, in response to the court’s attempts to prosecute American troops for actions in Afghanistan.

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