ICC says has no jurisdiction over territories (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Aviel Magnezi, AP Latest Update: 04.03.12, 20:42)
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International Criminal Court prosecutor rejects PA bid to file war
crimes charges against Israel over 2008 Gaza conflict
The International Criminal Court on Tuesday rejected a bid by the
Palestinian Authority to clear the way for the permanent war crimes
tribunal to investigate the 2008 Gaza conflict.
The long-awaited written ruling by Luis Moreno-Ocampo represents a
setback to Palestinians´ campaign for international recognition as an
The Palestinian Authority unilaterally recognized the court´s
jurisdiction in January 2009 and prosecutors have been mulling ever
since whether to accept that recognition, the first step in a process
that could have finished with Israel being investigated for possible
Under the court´s founding treaty, the Rome Statute, only
internationally recognized states can join the court. Prosecutors
listened to lawyers supporting the Palestinian bid and Israel´s
rejection of it before reaching Tuesday´s decision.
In a statement, the prosecutor said it is up to "relevant bodies at
the United Nations" or the group of nations that makes up the court
to determine whether Palestinians can sign up to the Rome Statute.
The court can only launch investigations if asked by the UN Security
Council or an involved state that has recognized the court. Israel
has never recognized its jurisdiction.
Human rights groups accused Israel of committing war crimes during
Operation Cast Lead, alleging that the IDF fired white phosphorus
munitions in densely populated areas during its war with Hamas.
Human Rights Watch called for an international investigation into
allegations of war crimes by both Israel and Hamas.
The Foreign Ministry issued a statement following the ruling: "Israel
has noted the ICC´s ruling saying that at this time, The Hague will
not hear any of the complaints filed by the PA. Israel has made it
clear from the very beginning that the court has no jurisdiction over
"The matter has been dealt with by interministerial teams, lead by
the Justice and Foreign ministries, in collaboration with other
"While Israel welcomes the ruling, it still has reservations as to
some of the legal statements made by the prosecuter."
NGO Monitor, an Israeli watchdog that focuses on non-governmental
organizations critical of Israel, hailed the ruling as "a strong
rebuke" to rights groups who had lobbied on behalf of the Palestinian
"International arenas are routinely hijacked for political purposes,
but today´s decision was markedly different," said Anne Herzberg,
legal adviser for NGO Monitor.
Amnesty: Ruling is dangerous
Amnesty International slammed the ICC´s "dangerous" ruling, saying
that it impedes justice for the Palestinian and Israeli victims of
the 2008 violence.
Marek Marczynski, the human rights group´s campaign manager on
international justice, asserted that the ruling opens the court up
for bias charges, and accused the prosecutor of deflecting the
responsibility for the alleged violations to other bodies.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman lauded the work of his own
ministry as well as that of the Justice Ministry and the Military
Advocate General, which he suggested led to the ruling.
"Few understand how much work went into this issue," he said.
"We kept it far from the media. The Justice Ministry and the Military
Advocate General have done well, but there is no doubt that the
Foreign Ministry´s staff acted in the most professional and discrete
manner – exactly as it was done with the Palmer Commission, the
Goldstone Commission and the political tsunami that has since
dissipated," he said, referring to the Palestinian statehood bid.
(Copyright 2012 © Yedioth Internet 04/03/12)
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