London (SaebPress) — Amnesty International accused the International Criminal Court (ICC) of “political bias” after it refused to investigate crimes carried out by Israelis during the 2008-9 Gaza War.
A “dangerous” statement by the office of International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor that it cannot consider allegations of crimes committed during the 2008-9 Gaza conflict means Palestinian and ‘Israeli’ victims seem likely to be denied justice, Amnesty International said.
The court’s chief prosecutor on Tuesday rejected a bid by the Palestinian Authority to clear the way for the permanent war crimes tribunal to investigate the attacks, which left at least 1,400 Palestinians dead. Unless the relevant UN bodies or ICC states parties determine that the Palestinian Authority is a state.
The International Criminal Court will not investigate ‘Israel’s’ conduct during its December 2008 offensive on Gaza because Palestine is not a state, the world prosecutor said Tuesday.
In a statement, the ICC prosecutor acknowledged that over 130 countries and some UN bodies recognize Palestine as a state. But, Palestine still holds observer status in the UN, and so the ICC cannot at this time investigate allegations of war crimes committed on Palestinian territory, the prosecutor said.
The ICC said it could in the future consider allegations of crimes committed in Palestine if the Security Council determines that Palestine is a state.
‘Israeli’ Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Tuesday that diplomats had worked against the Palestinian request for an ICC investigation into Operation Cast Lead that left nearly 1,400 Palestinians dead, including 300 children.Commenting on the ICC’s rejection of the bid for a tribunal, Lieberman said: “Not many understand how much work has been put into this issue. We have kept it out of the media. The Foreign Minister worked very professionally, quietly.” Lieberman said, Ynet reportedAttacking Gaza
ICC opens to accusations of political bias
Amnesty International said the ICC’s decision meant victims of ‘Israel’s’ war on Gaza were likely to be denied justice. The prosecutor’s decision opened the ICC to accusations of political bias, it added.
The rights group said ICC judges should decide on the court’s jurisdiction. It said the prosecutor had “dodged the question,” after considering it for three years.
“For the past three years, the prosecutor has been considering the question of whether the Palestinian Authority is a “state” that comes under the jurisdiction of the ICC and whether the ICC can investigate crimes committed during the 2008-9 conflict in Gaza and southern Israel,” said Marek Marczynski, head of Amnesty International’s International Justice campaign.
“Now, despite Amnesty International’s calls and a very clear requirement in the ICC’s statute that the judges should decide on such matters, the Prosecutor has erroneously dodged the question, passing it to other political bodies,” he added.
The long-awaited ruling by Luis Moreno-Ocampo is also a setback to the Palestinian campaign for international recognition as an independent state.
‘Israel’ launched a deadly war on the Gaza Strip at the end of 2008, carrying out a series of indiscriminate bombing raids and ground invasions on heavily populated civilian areas. ‘Israel’ also bombed UN compounds in Gaza during the war.
Most of the 1,400 Palestinians killed in Operation Cast Lead were civilians. According to UN figures, Israel’s military destroyed over 3,500 residential homes and made 20,000 people homeless during the 22-day assault.
A UN fact-finding mission tasked with investigating allegations of war crimes found that ‘Israel’ committed “grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of willful killings and willfully causing great suffering to protected persons.”
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