Palestine urges ICC to probe Israel war crimes in Gaza

Riyad al-Maliki said after meeting Prosecutor Ocampo that he was confident the court would act after evaluating the Palestine's petition.

Palestine urges ICC to probe Israel war crimes in Gaza

The Palestinian foreign minister urged the International Criminal Court's (ICC) prosecutor on Friday to start an investigation into Israeli war crimes during its offensive in Gaza.

Riyad al-Maliki told reporters after meeting Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo that he was confident the court would act after evaluating the Palestine's petition.

"Today we have come to deliver to the prosecutor a set of documents that show that Palestine as a state has the validity to represent its case to the court," Maliki said.

"We've come to ask for justice and to ask for an investigation into the crimes committed by the Israelis and Israeli army in Gaza recently," he said. "We expect the prosecution to take actions".

Israel launched on Dec. 27 a massive offensive in Gaza, killing more than 1300 Palestinians, a third of them children, and wounded at least 5300.

Last week Moreno-Ocampo's office said it had started a "preliminary analysis" to establish whether Israel committed war crimes, after receiving 210 communications from individuals and non-governmental organisations regarding events in Gaza.

The prosecutor has said that the preliminary analysis does not necessarily mean an investigation will be opened.

The ICC can investigate war crimes in the territory of a state party, if the U.N. Security Council refers a situation to the court or if a "non-state" party voluntarily accepts the jurisdiction of the court.

On Jan. 15 Israeli shells that U.N. officials said contained incendiary white phosphorus demolished a warehouse in a Gaza compound belonging to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Shells also hit a vocational training center there.

At least two inquiries already are underway -- one by UNRWA itself and one by Israel. The Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council has announced a plan for a broader investigation of rights violations in Gaza.

Israel has come under fire for using excessive force and white phosphorus during the conflict with Amnesty International accusing the Jewish state of war crimes.

Israel and the United States are not among the 108 countries that have signed the Rome Statute creating the court, but that would not prevent the ICC from launching an investigation.

The Palestinian Authority has recognised the jurisdiction of the ICC, in a move designed to allow investigations of alleged crimes in the Palestinian territories.

Maliki, who was also meeting Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen later on Friday, said he had agreed with the ICC prosecutor to maintain contact and "provide him with all the information that is really needed to build a case".

Reuters

Last Mod: 14 Şubat 2009, 11:55
Add Comment