Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday ruled that, amid Israeli protests, the court had authority over war crimes committed in the Palestinian territories, opening the way for a future criminal probe.
The decision led both Israel, which is not a member of the court and opposes its jurisdiction, and the Palestinian Authority, which accepted the verdict, to rapid reactions. The decision was opposed to by the United States.
“ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said her office was reviewing the decision and would determine what to do next to investigate serious war crimes and massacres “strictly directed by its independent and unbiased mandate” when countries became unable or unable to do so themselves.
The judges of the ICC claimed that their decision was based on the fact that Palestine was denied membership in the founding treaty of the tribunal, and referred the situation to the tribunal. The judges said that the ruling on authority would not mean any effort to assess the uncertain Palestinian statehood or national boundaries.
The geographical authority of the court in the Palestinian situation […] applies to the territory controlled since 1967 by Israel, including Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, they said.
In December 2019, Bensouda found that “war crimes in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, have been or are being committed.”
As potential suspects, she named both the Israeli Security Forces and armed Palestinian groups such as Hamas.
She then said that she saw no excuse not to launch an investigation, but asked the judges to decide first on whether the situation falls under the jurisdiction of the court.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticised the decision, saying in a video statement: “This is pure antisemitism when the ICC investigates Israel for fake war crimes.”
Although refusing to prosecute what he said were barbaric dictatorships in Iran and Syria that committed heinous crimes almost everyday, he criticised the court for prosecuting Israel as it “defends itself against terrorists.”
Of all our might, we will fight this perversion of justice,” Netanyahu said in the video, shaking a fist.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu protested the decision, saying in a video statement: “This is pure antisemitism when the ICC investigates Israel for fake war crimes.”
Although declining to sue what he claimed were brutal dictatorships that perpetrated heinous crimes almost daily in Iran and Syria, he blamed the court for suing Israel for “defends itself against terrorists.”
” Netanyahu said in the video, shaking a fist.” Netanyahu said in the video, shaking his fist.
We advise the international court to open an investigation into Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian civilians,” said Abu Zuhri, who is out of Gaza at the moment.”
On Twitter, US State Department spokesman Ned Price wrote: “The United States objects to today’s decision on the Palestinian situation at @IntlCrimCourt.”
“We will continue to uphold the strong commitment of President Biden to Israel and its security, including opposing actions that seek to unfairly target Israel,” Price continued.
“We advise the international court to open an investigation into Israel’s war crimes against Palestinian civilians,” said Abu Zuhri, who is reportedly out of Gaza.
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price posted on Twitter: “The United States objects to today’s decision on the Palestinian situation at @IntlCrimCourt.”
Price continued that we will continue to maintain President Biden’s deep commitment to Israel and its stability, even resisting measures that aim to wrongly target Israel.