ICC prosecutor opens probe into war crimes against Palestinians

16th January 2015, Comments 0 comments

The International Criminal Court's prosecutor on Friday opened a preliminary probe into possible war crimes committed against Palestinians, including during last year's Gaza war.

Fatou Bensouda said her office would conduct its "analysis in full independence and impartiality".

Her decision comes after Palestine formally joined the ICC earlier this month allowing it to lodge war crimes and crimes against humanity complaints against Israel as of April.

At the same time, the Palestinians also recognised the ICC's jurisdiction retroactively, to cover the period during last summer's war in Gaza that killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians and 73 Israelis.

"A preliminary examination is not an investigation but a process of examining the information available in order to reach a fully informed determination on whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with a (full) investigation," Bensouda said.

Depending on her findings, Bensouda will decide at a later stage whether to launch or quash the investigation, based on the initial probe.

Israel on June 13 began a massive crackdown on the West Bank after the kidnapping and subsequent murder of three Israeli teenagers, triggering a series of events that led to the seven-week Gaza war.

Palestine's move to join the ICC is also seen as part of a shift in strategy to internationalise its campaign for statehood and move away from the stalled US-led peace process.

Both Israel and the US have condemned the plan, with Washington calling it "counterproductive".

© 2015 AFP

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