ICC sides with Israel, rejects Gaza war crimes probe
Amnesty International accused the International Criminal Court (ICC) of “political bias” after it refused to investigate crimes carried out by Israelis during the 2008-9 Gaza War.
The court’s chief prosecutor on Tuesday rejected a bid by the Palestinian Authority to clear the way for the permanent war crimes tribunal to investigate the attacks, which left at least 1,300 Palestinians dead.
The UK-based rights group criticized the ruling, saying the ICC had risked its independence.
“This dangerous decision opens the ICC to accusations of political bias and is inconsistent with the independence of the ICC. It also breaches the Rome Statute which clearly states that such matters should be considered by the institution’s judges,” said Marek Marczyński, head of Amnesty International’s International Justice campaign.
The ICC based its decision on Palestine not being determined as a state by UN bodies and ICC states, but Amnesty insists the court has ruled in error.
“For the past three years, the prosecutor has been considering the question of whether the Palestinian Authority is a “state” that comes under the jurisdiction of the ICC and whether the ICC can investigate crimes committed during the 2008-9 conflict in Gaza and southern Israel.”
“Now, despite Amnesty International’s calls and a very clear requirement in the ICC’s statute that the judges should decide on such matters, the Prosecutor has erroneously dodged the question, passing it to other political bodies.”
The long-awaited written ruling by Luis Moreno-Ocampo is also a setback to the Palestinian campaign for international recognition as an independent state.
Israel launched a deadly war on the Gaza Strip at the end of 2008, carrying out a series of indiscriminate bombing raids and ground invasions on heavily populated civilian areas.
Israel also bombed UN compounds in Gaza during the war.
Palestinians have attempted to seek justice through the international criminal system, with attempted prosecutions of Israeli war criminals.
In December 2009, a British court issued an arrest warrant of former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni for her role in the killings, but the ruling was later overturned.
- Israel using Gaza as testing field for weapons: Meshaal (alethonews.wordpress.com)