Mexico, Chile urge ICC to investigate possible crimes in Gaza

AFP , AP , Friday 19 Jan 2024

Mexico and Chile on Thursday joined calls for an investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into Israel's Gaza war that has left thousands of people dead.

Israeli tank
Israeli soldiers overlook the Gaza Strip from a tank, as seen from southern Israel, Friday, Jan. 19, 2024. AP


The referral "is due to the growing concern over the latest escalation of violence, particularly against civilian targets, and the alleged continued commission of crimes under the court's jurisdiction, specifically since the October 7, 2023 attack carried out by Hamas militants and the subsequent hostilities in Gaza," Mexico's foreign ministry said.

The Palestinian Health Ministry says more than 24,400 Palestinians have died during Israel's siege and invasion of Gaza, and the United Nations says a quarter of the 2.3 million people trapped in Gaza are starving.

Chile supports "the investigation of any possible war crime... whether they are war crimes committed by Israelis or by Palestinians," Foreign Minister Alberto van Klaveren said at a news conference in Santiago.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry warmly welcomed Chile and Mexico’s referral of the situation in the Palestinian territories to the ICC.

The ICC opened an investigation into Israel as well as Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups for possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories in 2021.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said in November that the investigation now "extends to the escalation of hostilities and violence since the attacks that took place on 7 October, 2023."

His remarks followed calls from South Africa, Bangladesh, Bolivia, the Comoros and Djibouti for an ICC investigation into Israel's Gaza war.

Israel, which has refused to sign the Rome Convention to join the ICC, claims that because Palestine is not a sovereign state, the tribunal lacks the jurisdiction to investigate the conflict -- a position largely backed by the US.

The ICC is a court of last resort set up to prosecute war crimes when local courts cannot or will not take action.

Any ICC proceedings would be separate from South Africa’s case accusing Israel of genocide at the UN world court, a charge that Israel denies.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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