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News, January 2015
ICC to Open Preliminary Probe Into Israeli War Crimes in Gaza, Netanyahu Angry and Lieberman Threatens to Dismantle the Court
January 17, 2015
ICC Probe Into Israeli War Crimes Opened
The International Criminal Court's prosecutor, on Friday, opened an
initial probe to see if war crimes have been committed against
Palestinians, including during last year's war on Gaza.
Lieberman Threatens To “Dismantle” ICC
Following the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to launch a preliminary investigation to determine “whether war crimes have been committed” during Israel’s last war Gaza in the summer of 2014, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened that Israel “would act on dissolving the ICC," and considered the decision “provocative.”
He added that Israel will not cooperate with any investigation, and
will act on the international level to dissolve the ICC after describing
the decision as hypocritical, and supportive of what he called
Euro-Mid Observer: ICC decision gives hope for victims
January 17, 2015, GENEVA, (PIC)--
The Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights welcomed in a statement issued
Saturday the decision made by the International Criminal Court (ICC) "to
open a preliminary probe into the situation in Palestine".
Hamas welcomes ICC inquiry into Israeli-Palestinian conflict
GAZA Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:51am EST
The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, said on Saturday it welcomed a decision by the International Criminal Court to launch an inquiry into possible Israeli war crimes in the Palestinian territories.
ICC prosecutors said on Friday the preliminary examination would scrutinize "in full independence and impartiality" crimes that may have occurred since June 13 last year, opening a path to possible charges against Israelis or Palestinians.
The court's decision came after Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a rival to Hamas, requested ICC membership, against strong opposition from Israel and the United States.
Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip, said on Saturday that Hamas appreciated the move.
"What is needed now is to quickly take practical steps in this direction and we are ready to provide (the court) with thousands of reports and documents that confirm the Zionist enemy has committed horrible crimes against Gaza and against our people," he said in a statement.
Israel rejected the court's Friday decision as hypocrisy and the U.S. State Department said it was "a tragic irony that Israel, which has withstood thousands of terrorist rockets fired at its civilians and its neighborhoods, is now being scrutinized by the ICC".
The June 13 date would allow the court to look at the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza in July-August 2014 during which more than 2,100 Palestinians (most of them women and children) and 73 Israelis (basically soldiers) were killed.
Prosecutors will assess evidence of alleged crimes and determine if they are of sufficient gravity and scale to warrant charges against individuals on either side.
Israel in 2005 pulled its settlers and troops out of Gaza, which remains under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade. Palestinians seek statehood in Gaza and the West Bank.
(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughbrabi; editing by Andrew Roche)
ICC to open preliminary probe into possible Israeli war crimes in Gaza
FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP
January 16, 2015
The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday opened a preliminary investigation into possible Israeli war crimes in the Palestinian territories to determine if a formal investigation should be launched into acts committed during the 2014 Gaza conflict.
The Hague-based prosecutors said they would examine “in full independence and impartiality” crimes that may have occurred since June 13 last year. The move allows the court to investigate actions taken during the July-August 2014 conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, during which more than 2,100 Palestinians and 73 Israelis were killed.
The court stressed that, at this stage, the ICC’s actions should not be considered a formal investigation.
“It is not an investigation,” Emeric Rogier, chief of situation analysis at the ICC, told FRANCE 24 by telephone. “It is a process in which the office will gather information on alleged crimes committed in Palestine since 13 June 2014.”
“We will analyse this information and it is only at the end of this preliminary examination that the prosecutor will decide to open a formal investigation,” Rogier added.
The ICC’s decision to launch a preliminary probe was immediately condemned by Israeli leaders. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he rejected the ICC decision, which he called "scandalous", claiming the court had no jurisdiction over the Palestinian territories.
The ICC’s Rogier said he hoped Israel would cooperate with the examination despite not being a signatory to the ICC treaty, known as the Rome Statute.
The investigation was branded as “outrageous” by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
An initial inquiry could lead to war crimes charges against Israel, whether relating to the recent Gaza war or its 47-year-long occupation of the West Bank. It also occupied Gaza from 1967-2005. Palestinians are seeking the establishment of a state in the two territories.
“A door is being opened which could eventually lead to charges against Israeli leaders, so this is definitely ruffling some feathers,” Gallagher Fenwick, FRANCE 24’s correspondent in Jerusalem, said.
The ICC move also exposes the Palestinians to prosecution, possibly for rocket attacks perpetrated on Israel by militant groups operating out of Gaza.
In a statement last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon confirmed that the Palestinians will formally join the ICC on April 1 following a Palestinian request for membership – a move strongly opposed by Israel and the United States.
The ICC has been criticised for focusing on Africa while being unable to intervene in some of the world’s bloodiest and most intractable conflicts.
The world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal, the ICC is the court of last resort for its 122 member states, aiming to hold the powerful accountable for the most heinous crimes when national authorities are unable or unwilling to act.
But the court has struggled over its first decade, completing just three cases and securing two convictions. Critics say it has been vulnerable to political pressure and opposition from non-members: the United States, China and Russia.
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