The Hague: The International Criminal Court ruled that it had jurisdiction over the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, paving the way for the tribunal to open a war crimes investigation.
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda had asked the court for its legal opinion on whether its reach extended to areas occupied by Israel, after announcing in December 2019 that she wanted to start a full probe.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the ICC as a “political body” while the United States said it had “serious concerns” over the decision. The Palestinians called it a “victory for justice”.
The ICC said in a statement that judges had “decided, by majority, that the Courts territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in Palestine… extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.”
Palestine is a state party to the court, having joined in 2015, but Israel is not a member.
The court added that its decision was not a ruling on Palestinian “statehood”, but that it followed from Palestine s position as a state party, under the ICC s founding Rome Statute.
“The chamber is neither adjudicating a border dispute under international law nor prejudging the question of any future borders” it said. AFP.