Palestine to file war crimes complaint against Israel to ICC – UPI.com

by Newsstand

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, June 11 — The Palestinian Authority is set to file war crimes and crimes against humanity complaints to the International Criminal Court over Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict.

The complaints, drafted by Palestinian and international experts, will be filed to the court on June 25. A delegation from the ICC is set to travel to Israel for a preliminary investigation.

ICC investigators will work to determine if crimes have been committed in occupied Palestinian territories.

“As part of its preliminary examination activities, the Office of the Prosecutor conducts field visits as it has done in the past with other situations under preliminary examinations,” a statement by the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC said. “From the outset, the prosecutor has consistently made clear that the situation in Palestine will not be treated any differently from the others. Therefore, the office as per normal practice, is considering a visit to the region during the course of its preliminary examination. Contrary to media reports, no date has been confirmed and further planning is required.”

The U.N Security Council can ask the court to delay the case for up to two years, but Palestinian officials said China and Russia would veto such moves likely made by the United States.

Palestine became a member of the ICC in early April. The move also places Palestinian militants, such as Hamas, under the court’s jurisdiction.

Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, Israel, the European Union, Canada and Japan. The organization’s charter commits to the destruction of Israel.

Israel is not a member of the ICC, but individual Israelis could be charged if suspected of war crimes committed within Palestinian territory. The death toll for last year’s Israeli-Gaza conflict was more than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, about 67 Israeli soldiers and six Israeli civilians.

Last month, two U.N. humanitarian officials working in the occupied Palestinian territory expressed “grave concern” over Israel’s “rapidly advancing plans” to transfer Palestinians in central West Bank out of their homes, which could further possible illegal settlements by Israelis on claimed Palestinian land.

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