Palestinians ask ICC to investigate Israel human rights violations

Palestinians ask ICC to investigate Israel human rights violations

PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki is scheduled to meet Tuesday morning with ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda at The Hague to hand her a new file against Israel, to follow on previous submissions to the court.

"It is time to hold the Israeli war criminals accountable and to bring justice to the Palestinian People", the Negotiations Affairs Department said.

The step, known as a state party referral, seeks an investigation into Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, as well as Israeli military activity in the Gaza Strip, including the recent killing of dozens of Palestinians during mass protests along the border. "This referral is Palestine's test to the worldwide mechanism of accountability and respect for global law".

Israel is not a member of the ICC, but its citizens can be charged by the court if they are suspected of committing crimes against a national of a country that is a member.

In this phase, the prosecutor is meant to determine whether the criteria have been met to warrant pursuing a formal investigation based on the information available publicly or submitted to the office and whether local courts are carrying out credible investigations.

The Palestinian foreign minister says he has asked the International Criminal Court to open an "immediate investigation" into alleged Israeli crimes against the Palestinians.

Instead, the PA largely relied on the prosecutor to open an investigation on her own accord, which delays the prospects of opening an investigation.

Bensouda said in April: "Violence against civilians - in a situation such as the one prevailing in Gaza - could constitute crimes.as could the use of civilian presence for the objective of shielding military activities". "The use of lethal and other excessive force is a serious violation of global law, yet our efforts to challenge the policy from within Israel have been met with support for the status quo".

The ICC launched a preliminary probe in 2015 into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Israel and the Palestinian territories, in the wake of the Gaza war.

Israel is not a member of the ICC, and claims it has an independent judiciary capable of investigating any potential wrongdoing by its troops.

But while a referral does not automatically trigger an investigation, it applies more pressure on the prosecutor to open one.

Leading Western states regularly visited by Israeli officials have so far strictly resisted calls by human rights groups to apprehend the officials over the regime's atrocities against Palestinians.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the United Nations to establish a peacekeeping force in the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, to prevent further killings.

The Palestinians also want action taken against Israel for the deaths of several thousand Palestinians, including hundreds of civilians, during three wars between Israel and Hamas.

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