(JTA) — “Palestine” is eligible to join the Rome Statute and file war crimes charges against Israel, the International Criminal Court prosecutor said.
Fatou Bensouda in an Op-Ed in The Guardian newspaper on Friday answered charges that the ICC has avoided opening an investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza due to political pressure.
“I have made it clear in no uncertain terms that the office of the prosecutor will execute its mandate, without fear or favor, where jurisdiction is established and will vigorously pursue those – irrespective of status or affiliation – who commit mass crimes that shock the conscience of humanity,” Bensouda wrote in the British paper. “My office’s approach to Palestine will be no different if the court’s jurisdiction is ever triggered over the situation.”
In November 2012, Palestine’s status was upgraded in the United Nations to non-member observer state,” which gives it legitimacy to join the Rome Statute, Bensouda told the Guardian. The statute, which went into effect in 2002, sets down four key international crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression.
Membership in the ICC would grant Palestine the right to file war crimes with the court against Israel and Israeli figures.