The Latest: International court prosecutor won’t be rushed
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Latest on the Palestinians’ complaint against Israel before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands (all times local):
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has signaled that she will not be rushed into making a decision on whether to launch an investigation into alleged crimes by Israel in the Palestinian territories.
In a statement issued after the Palestinians called for an immediate investigation, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Tuesday noted that she has been conducting a preliminary probe since January 2015 to establish whether she should open a full-blown investigation.
She says the “preliminary examination has seen important progress and will continue to follow its normal course” guided by provisions in the court’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute.
Bensouda says she must consider “issues of jurisdiction, admissibility and the interests of justice” in deciding whether to open an investigation.
Israel, which is not an ICC member, says the court does not have jurisdiction.
Israel says it takes a “severe view” of the Palestinian request to the International Criminal Court for a probe into alleged Israeli crimes against the Palestinians and is urging ICC to reject what it called a “cynical step.”
A statement from the Israeli Foreign Ministry called Tuesday’s request “absurd,” accusing the Palestinians of incitement and exploiting civilians as “human shields.”
It also said the ICC lacks jurisdiction in the case because Israel is not a member of the court.
The statement says that “Israel expects the ICC and its prosecutor not to yield to Palestinian pressure, and stand firm against continued Palestinian efforts to politicize the court and to derail it from its mandate.”
The Palestinian foreign minister says he has asked the International Criminal Court to open an “immediate investigation” into alleged Israeli crimes against the Palestinians.
Foreign Minister Riad Malki said he submitted the “referral” to the court during a meeting with the ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, in The Hague on Tuesday.
Malki said the complaint seeks an investigation into Israeli policies in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem since the state of Palestine joined the ICC in June 2014.
He says this includes Israeli settlement policies as well as the recent violence in Gaza, where Israeli fire killed over 100 Gazans during violent protests along the Israeli border.
Malki called the request an important “test” of accountability for the ICC.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki has arrived at the International Criminal Court to call on prosecutors there to open an immediate investigation into Israel’s settlements in the Palestinian territories.
According to a Palestinian statement, the so-called “referral” that Malki is handing to the court’s prosecutors on Tuesday underscores “that there is sufficient compelling evidence of the ongoing commission of grave crimes to warrant an immediate investigation.”
Malki was accompanied by a police escort and ushered into the ICC where he was met with staffers at the door. He didn’t say anything upon entering.
The ICC has been conducting a preliminary probe since 2015 into alleged crimes in the Palestinian territories, including Israel’s settlement policy and crimes allegedly committed by both sides in the 2014 Gaza conflict.