The International Criminal Court (ICC), on Tuesday, responded to a request by the Palestinian Foreign Ministry asking them to investigate Israeli settlement building and alleged war crimes.
“Since 16 January 2015, the situation in Palestine has been subject to a preliminary examination in order to ascertain whether the criteria for opening an investigation are met,” Fatou Bensuda, the Netherlands-based ICC’s chief prosecutor, said in a statement.
“This preliminary examination has seen important progress and will continue to follow its normal course,” she said.
Bensuda said, according to Andalou/Al Ray, that her office evaluates and analyzes all information received independently, regardless of who it was referred by.
“A referral or an article 12(3) declaration does not automatically lead to the opening of an investigation.
“There should be no doubt that, in this and any other situation before my Office, I will always take the decision warranted by my mandate under the Rome Statute.”
The Rome Statute allows the ICC to investigate whether genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or crimes of aggression have been committed in a state which is either unable or unwilling to do so itself.
On May 14, at least 65 unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza were killed — and thousands more injured — by intense Israeli army gunfire.
The protests coincided with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment in 1948 — an event Palestinians refer to as the “The Nakba (Catastrophe)” — and the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, which took place the same day.