A delegation from the worldâ€™s only permanent war crimes court is visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories, this week, to â€śpromote better understandingâ€ť about its work, their chief prosecutor said Wednesday.
The trip, from Wednesday until October 10, will be the first to the region by officials from the prosecutorâ€™s office at the International Criminal Court (ICC) since the 2014 Gaza war.
The team will travel to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Ramallah, chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement for â€śmeetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials at the working levels.â€ť
But, according to the PNN. she made no mention of whether the delegation would travel to the impoverished Gaza Strip, and stressed the visit was not aimed at investigating any allegations.
At the request of the Palestinians, Bensoudaâ€™s office has opened an initial probe into alleged war crimes by both sides during the July-August 2014 conflict.
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She said that the visit was â€śnot linkedâ€ť to her preliminary investigation, which she said â€śis ongoing and is following its normal course.â€ť
â€śThe purpose of this visit will be to undertake outreach and education activities with a view to raising awareness about the ICC and in particular, about the work of the office,â€ť Bensouda said.
The delegation from her office â€świll not engage in evidence collection in relation to any alleged crimes,â€ť she added.
â€śNeither will the delegation undertake site visits, or assess the adequacy of the respective legal systems to deal with crimes that fall within ICC jurisdiction.â€ť
The 2014Â IsraeliÂ aggression on Gaza killed 2,251 Palestinians, including 551 children, according to UN figures.Â On the Israeli side, 73 people were killed, mostly soldiers.
Israel and the Palestinians have accused each other of war crimes.
Israel is alleged to have used force indiscriminately, while Hamas is accused of firing rockets at Israeli civilian population centers and of using Palestinians as human shields.
The Palestinians formally asked the ICC, last year, to investigate the “Jewish state”, which is not a party to the treaty that governs the court, for alleged war crimes.
Israel vehemently opposes any ICC investigation. But, officials have said they will cooperate with the body to convince it of the competence of the stateâ€™s own court.
Edited for American English by chris @ imemc.org