ICC examines Gaza crimes

ICC examines Gaza crimes

THE prosecutor of the International Criminal Court was conducting a “preliminary analysis” of alleged crimes committed by Israelis during the recent offensive in the Gaza Strip, his office said today.

Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has received communications on this issue from Palestinian justice minister Ali Kashan, the Palestinian National Authority, and more than 200 other individuals and non-governmental bodies, his office said.

“The office of the prosecutor will carefully examine all relevant issues, including on jurisdiction.”

“The preliminary analysis conducted by the office of the prosecutor is not indicative that an investigation will be opened.”

Mr Moreno-Ocampo”s office said he had met Mr Kashan in The Hague on January 22, when “they discussed allegations of crimes committed in Gaza”.

The same day, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) lodged a declaration with the ICC registrar, recognising the court”s jurisdiction over the alleged crimes, the nature of which the prosecutor”s office did not divulge.

It also did not say which Israeli individuals have been fingered.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo”s office has to date insisted the ICC – which started work in 2002 as the world”s first permanent tribunal on war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide – had no competence over the Gaza situation.

The court can try an individual if the alleged crime was committed on the territory of, or by a national of, a signatory to the Rome Statute which created the court, or if requested by a state party – which Israel is not.

The prosecutor can also start an investigation into the Gaza situation at the request of the United Nations security council, or if a non-party state accepts the court”s jurisdiction – the road the PNA has now sought to take.

But the Palestinian territories are not recognised as an independent state.