Palestinians hand dossier detailing alleged war crimes by Israel in Gaza to ICC

Foreign minister submits files in person at the Hague court, to feed into preliminary investigation that could lead to charges against both sides

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The Independent Online

The Palestinians have handed International Criminal Court prosecutors a dossier detailing alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza.

Riyad al-Maliki, foreign minister of the Palestinian Authority, submitted the files in person at the Hague court, to feed into an investigation by ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda into possible crimes on Palestinian territory.

The preliminary probe aims to establish if there is enough evidence to merit opening a full-scale investigation that could ultimately lead to charges against both Israelis and Palestinians.

The move comes days after a separate investigation by the United Nations Human Rights Council accused both sides of committing possible war crimes in last summer's Gaza War.

The Palestinian Authority joined the international court this year but Israel is not a member and rejects the court’s authority.

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Parts of eastern Gaza are still in ruins, a year on from the 50-day war

Mr al-Maliki’s file, based on findings by a Palestinian commission of inquiry and information from non-government groups, also contains evidence illegal Israeli settlement-building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Ms Bensouda's initial probe aims to establish if there is enough evidence to merit opening a full-scale investigation that could ultimately lead to charges against both Israelis and Palestinians. It is not clear how long the process will take.

 

Mr al-Maliki said the information forms "a compelling case for the prompt opening of an investigation."

He said it included details on Israel's settlements and military offensive throughout the occupied Palestinian territories, particularly last year's Gaza War, and also outlined allegations of crimes committed against Palestinian prisoners.

The filing, "confirms that the absence of accountability has led to the recurrence of violations and crimes and will continue to do so if gone unchecked," the Palestinians said in a statement before the filing on Thursday.

Israel dismissed the submission as politically motivated, as it did the UN probe.

"This is a Palestinian attempt to manipulate and politicise the judicial mechanisms of the ICC," said Emmanuel Nahshon, spokesman of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. "We hope that the prosecutor will not fall in that trap."

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