ICC says Palestinians too could face war crimes probes

AFP , Friday 1 May 2015

Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda of the International Criminal Court (ICC) (Photo:Reuters)

The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor has said she is weighing opening war crimes investigations into Palestinians as well as Israelis after Palestine joined the tribunal's jurisdiction last month.

"We will of course look into the alleged crimes committed by all sides . I have made this clear to both Israeli and Palestinian officials," she said.

Bensouda said that so far her deliberations were still at a preliminary stage and no investigation had been opened into anyone from either side.

"At this stage we are not investigating, as a decision on whether to open an investigation in the situation of Palestine has not been made," she said.

Bensouda began a preliminary examination in January of whether there was sufficient evidence to warrant opening war crimes investigations into last summer's Israeli offensive on Gaza that  left more than 2,000 Palestinians dead, with more than 12,000 injured. Only  70 Israelis, mostly soldiers, died during the assault.

Israel branded her decision "absurd".

A UN report released on Monday found Israel responsible for seven deadly strikes on UN schools used as shelters during the assault,.

Palestine formally joined the ICC on April 1, extending its jurisdiction to the occupied West Bank, including annexed east Jerusalem, as well as Gaza.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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