Palestinians to Outline Alleged Israeli Crimes at International Criminal Court

by Reuters /  / Updated  / Source: Reuters

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Evidence of alleged Israeli crimes was due to be handed to the International Criminal Court by the Palestinian foreign minister on Thursday.

Riad al-Malki will give two files to the court's prosecutor, outlining alleged crimes in the occupied West Bank and in the 2014 Gaza war, the Palestinian mission in The Hague said.

But while his visit to the court will keep the public gaze on the case, the submissions will have no legal force and progress in the court's examination of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is unlikely for many months.

The Palestinian Authority joined the Hague-based court in April and prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has launched a preliminary inquiry into alleged crimes committed by all parties in last year's Gaza war.

The submissions are intended to contribute to the preliminary investigation, which covers the period starting June 14, 2014.

A cease-fire in August ended the 50 days of fighting between Gaza militants and Israel, in which health officials said more than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed. Israel put the number of its dead at 67 soldiers and six civilians.

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U.N. investigators said on Monday that Israel and Palestinian militant groups committed grave abuses of international humanitarian law during the 2014 Gaza conflict that may amount to war crimes.

Israel disputed the findings, saying its forces acted "according to the highest international standards". It has criticized the ICC decision to open an examination, arguing that the Palestinian Authority is not a state and cannot therefore be a member.

Without enforcement powers, the court depends on voluntary cooperation of states, including non-members such as Israel, to collect information.

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