International Criminal Court: Israel's greatest fear

Hamas agrees: one step closer to unity government signing Rome Statute


PALESTINE CAN NOW JOIN ICC
Hamas has signed agreement to accede to the Rome Statute and join the International Criminal Court. This gives it jurisdiction to accept a case filed by Palestine for war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated on its soil currently and retroactively to 2002, the date of the creation of the ICC. This is what “Israel” fear almost more than losing the patronage, protection and largess of the Americans. Colonialism, apartheid, genocide, violations of the Geneva Conventions and war crimes are likely charges to be levelled against the “Israel.” The UN Human Rights Council will be investigating these -of both “Israel” and resistance factions in Gaza, their report is due to be completed in March 2015.

AP reports, “In a new twist, the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad group, also not a PLO member and one of the factions fighting in Gaza, said Saturday it would not approve going to the international court.” This presents a wrinkle, but not one that cannot be overcome. It is in the interests of Palestinians in Gaza, al-Quds/Jerusalem, the ‘West Bank’ and the diaspora to bring “Israel” to heel for its many crimes.

Izzat Rishq, a senior Hamas official, said Saturday that Hamas was not concerned about becoming a target of a war crimes investigation and urged Abbas to act “as soon as possible.”

“We are under occupation, under daily attack and our fighters are defending their people,” he said in a phone interview from Qatar. “These rockets are meant to stop Israeli attacks and it is well known that Israel initiated this war and previous wars.”

A senior Palestinian official has said Abbas likely would wait for the findings of a U.N.-appointed commission of inquiry into possible Gaza war crimes – due by March – before turning to the court. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss internal deliberations with reporters.

A former International Criminal Court prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, told The Associated Press earlier this week that he believes drawing the court into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict might be a positive step.

“I think the ICC could contribute to a solution” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said.

He noted that the court, established in 2002, would only get involved if it determined that the two sides are not conducting their own credible investigations of alleged war crimes.

23 August, 2014 Ma’an
Hamas has signed a proposal for the Palestinians to apply to join the International Criminal Court at which legal action could be taken against Israel, a senior official of the movement said Saturday.

“Hamas signed the document which (Palestinian) president (Mahmoud Abbas) put forth as a condition that all factions approve, before he goes to sign the Rome Statute, which paves the way for Palestine’s membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC),” Hamas deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzouq wrote on his Facebook page.

The Palestinian declaration came after two days of talks in Qatar between Abbas and Hamas supremo Khaled Meshaal, whose movement is the de facto ruler of the Gaza Strip.

Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP that the Islamic Jihad, the second most powerful force in Gaza, “is currently the only Palestinian faction that has not signed” the document.

“They are studying the possibility of signing,” he added.

According to Erakat, “the document calls on president Abbas to sign the Rome Statute to join the ICC, and indicates all the signatories assume responsibility for this membership.”

Israel has signed but not ratified the Rome Statute.

Based in The Hague, the ICC opened its doors in 2003 and is the world’s first independent court set up to try the worst crimes, including genocide and war crimes.

Since the July 8 outbreak of the latest war in and around Gaza, Israel and Hamas have accused each other of war crimes amid a massive Israeli assault that has killed more than 2,100 Palestinians and left more than 100,000 homeless.

68 Israelis have also died, all but four of whom were soldiers.

Joining the ICC would also expose Palestinian factions to possible prosecution.

The Palestinians had in 2009 asked the ICC’s prosecutor’s office to investigate alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Israeli military in Gaza.

There has so far been no probe as Palestine is not an ICC member state and its status as a state is uncertain in some international institutions.

However, the Palestinians in late November 2012 obtained the status of observer state at the United Nations, opening the door for an ICC investigation.

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