‘ICC has jurisdiction over Palestinian territories’

6th Feb 2021
‘ICC has jurisdiction over Palestinian territories’

By Zehra Nur Duz and Burak Bir

 

ANKARA (AA): The International Criminal Court (ICC) decided on Friday that it has jurisdiction over crimes committed in the Palestinian territories.

“Today, Pre-Trial Chamber I of ICC decided, by majority, that the Court’s territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in Palestine, a State party to the ICC Rome Statute, extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967,” ICC said in a statement.

The UN General Assembly in Resolution 67/19 “[reaffirmed] the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967,” the statement said.

Based on the relevant UN resolution, the ICC found that the Court has territorial jurisdiction in Gaza City and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Palestinian territories, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem, have been under Israeli occupation since 1967. The occupation is considered illegal under international law.

Palestinian Justice Minister Mohammed al-Shalaldeh welcomed the ICC decision and considered it “historic”.

“The International Criminal Court decision is historic and means immediate commencement in investigating the grave violations on the Palestinian occupied territory,” al-Shalaldeh said.

He added that three files are prioritized for the court — the Israeli war on Gaza in 2014, the Israeli settlement, and the Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails–.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the decision in a written statement.

“Today, the International Criminal Court has proven once more that it is a political body and not a judicial institution,” Netanyahu said.

“In this ruling, the tribunal violated the right of democracies to defend themselves against terrorism, and played into the hands of those who undermine efforts to expand the circle of peace,” he added.

US under President Trump had threatened sanctions against the iCC judges if they decided to allow Palestine to take Israel to ICC. The new Administration under President Biden said they are having a “close look” at the decision.

Ned Price, Department Spokesperson, said: “First, when it comes to the ICC decision on jurisdiction, this decision just came out. We are aware of it and we are reviewing it. A three-judge panel of the Pre-trial Chamber One of the ICC issued a decision affirming that the ICC may exercise territorial jurisdiction in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza; however, we have serious concerns about the ICC’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel. We have always taken the position that the court’s jurisdiction should be reserved for countries that consent to it or that are referred by the UN Security Council.

“Obviously, we are taking a close look at the decision today. I think broadly when it comes to the ICC, as we’ve said, we share the goals of the ICC in promoting accountability for the worst crimes known to humanity. At the same time, and you heard me allude to this just a moment ago, we have always taken the position that the court’s jurisdiction should be reserved for countries that consent to it or that are referred to by the UN Security Council. I think I would – I need to leave it at that.”

* Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara.

Additional report by The Muslim News

 

[Logo of International Criminal Court/Public Domain]

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