21, December 2019
The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor said on Friday she will launch a full investigation into alleged war crimes in the Palestinian Territories, which could include charges against Israelis or Palestinians.
“I am satisfied that … war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip,” Fatou Bensouda of the ICC said in a statement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the ICC has no jurisdiction to investigate in the Palestinian Territories.
“The court has no jurisdiction in this case. The ICC only has jurisdiction over petitions submitted by sovereign states. But there has never been a Palestinian state,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
Bensouda said the preliminary examination into alleged war crimes, opened in 2015, had rendered enough information to meet all criteria for opening an investigation.
The ICC prosecutor said she had filed a request with judges for a jurisdictional ruling, because of the contested legal and factual status of the Palestine territories.
The ICC has the authority to hear cases of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity committed on the territory of the 123 countries that have signed up to it.
Israel has not joined the court but the Palestinian Authority – a limited self-rule body in the Israeli-occupied West Bank – has done so.