PA tips off ICC over Israeli crimes
February 13 2009
Two Palestinian ministers are trying to push the International Criminal Court (ICC) to launch a probe into Israel’s war crimes in Gaza.
Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki and Justice Minister Ali Kashan told reporters on Friday that they had given the ICC chief prosecutor documents proving Palestine is a legal state with the right to demand such an inquiry.
“Today we came to deliver a set of documents that shows that Palestine as a state … has the ability to present a case to the court and to ask for an investigation into crimes committed by the Israeli army,” AFP quoted Kashan as saying following a four-hour meeting in the ICC building.
“We will deliver more information about war crimes and crimes against humanity — not only in Gaza during the last Israeli attack, but also from 2002 until this moment,” he added.
Earlier in February, Moreno-Ocampo said he would decide on whether there was such a legal entity as a Palestinian state, which would allow an investigation into war crimes during Israel’s military offensive against the Hamas-run Gaza.
According to the Rome Statute, a treaty that created the ICC, only a state could accept the court’s jurisdiction — what the Palestinian Authority has sought.
Malki said documents were provided that show Palestine was recognized as a state by 67 countries with bilateral agreements with states in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.
“Evidence of war crimes was among the documents provided,” he added
The 23-day Israeli onslaught on Gazans left at least 1,330 Palestinians – including some 460 children – killed and around 5,450 others injured.
An Israeli weapons system explodes over a mosque in Gaza
International organizations and human rights groups remain concerned over Tel Aviv’s use of forbidden arms, such as depleted uranium and white phosphorus, in the Gaza war.
The Palestinian ministers said the Palestinians had been “looking for justice for a very long time”.
“What we seek here is justice,” Malki said. “We want to create a precedent.”
Earlier in the month, Turkish human rights group, Mazlum-Der, accused Israel of directly attacking civilians “with the aim of annihilating them” and employing internationally-banned weapons in the process.
“The suspects, who wanted to wipe out the Palestinian people through systematic attacks, have committed genocide and crimes against humanity,” said the human rights group’s petition, demanding that several Israeli officials, including President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and army chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi be detained should they enter Turkey.