The prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC), Ms. Fatou Bensouda, said that no charges have been filed against any Israeli or Palestinian, and the investigation has not been opened.
In an interview with the Hebrew-language paper, Maariv, Bensouda said: “The International Criminal Court is acting according to the principle of personal responsibility for crimes. It does not deal with conflicts between countries and it does not sue countries.”
“If and when it is opened, the General Prosecutor’s office will manage an independent investigation with no inquiries, and which will be based only on proofs. In the court’s process, according to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, every suspect enjoys the required legal guarantees, including the presumption of innocence from crime until his guilt is proven, and the right to a lawyer of his choosing.”
Last week, the ICC said it will launch a full investigation into war crimes in the Palestinian territories, a move welcomed by the Palestinian government.
Bensouda said the preliminary examination into war crimes, opened in 2015, had rendered enough information to meet all criteria for opening an investigation.
PNN reports that over 30 lawyers in the Palestinian occupied territories helped draft the fresh dossier.
Gaza, with a population of more than 1.8 million, has been under siege by the Israeli regime since June of 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.
A UN fact-finding mission said in March that Israeli forces committed rights violations during their crackdown against Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip last year that may amount to “war crimes,” urging the regime’s military to prevent its snipers from using lethal force against the demonstrators.
The Popular Committee Against the Siege recently appealed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to save the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Strip, Days of Palestine reports.
“The situation in the Gaza Strip entails urgent and decisive intervention from the UN Secretary-General to pressure the occupation to lift the siege,” Committee head Jamal al-Khudari said in a statement, on Saturday.
“Ending the Israeli blockade will contribute to saving the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza,” he added.
He stressed that “the blockade is immoral and inhuman, and contradicts all principles of the international law, the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.