Middle East Monitor / March 10, 2020
A “Twitter Storm” has been launched by a Palestinian rights organisation in response to the International Criminal Court’s decision to delay the investigation into Israel’s human rights violations and war crimes in the occupied West Bank.
Despite having found a reasonable basis to mount an investigation of “the situation in Palestine,” after a five-year preliminary examination, the ICC has decided to hear briefs submitted by numerous countries regarding its jurisdiction in the Palestinian territories.
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced on 20 December that she was “satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine.”
However, some countries have filed amicus briefs to the ICC asking permission to present legal arguments against the tribunal’s jurisdiction to adjudicate war crime suits against Israel, reported the Jerusalem Post.
Some of the countries include Canada, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Brazil.
They argue that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the case because Palestine does not meet the criteria of statehood.
In addition, they also claim that the ICC does not possess the necessary jurisdiction to open criminal investigations and rule on matters related to suspected war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
Therefore, Al Haq, a Palestinian rights organisation that challenges human rights abuses, launched a Twitter campaign which included “excerpts submitted by civil society, academics and practitioners in support of opening an investigation and ending impunity for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the occupied Palestinian territories.”
The Palestinians have asked the ICC to investigate Israeli war crimes committed in the occupied territories, relating to illegal settlements, land expropriation and the killing of civilians during Israeli offensives on Gaza.
The ICC does not investigate states, but officials who are accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.