ICC's Israel war crimes probe halted

2012-04-03 21:44

The Hague - The International Criminal Court prosecutor said on Tuesday he would hold off on a preliminary probe into alleged Israeli war crimes in the Palestinian territories until the UN rules on Palestinian statehood.

"The office [of the prosecutor] has assessed that it is for the relevant bodies at the UN or the Assembly of State Parties to make a legal determination whether Palestine qualifies as a state for the purpose of acceding to the Rome Statute", the court's founding treaty, the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

The Palestinian Authority in January 2009 accepted the Hague-based court's jurisdiction, asking ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo to launch a war crimes investigation against Israel following the Gaza war in December 2008 - January 2009.

It wanted Moreno-Ocampo to look into "acts committed on the territory of Palestine" going as far back as July 2002.

Moreno-Ocampo's office then opened a preliminary probe to see if there were grounds to proceed with an investigation.

Tuesday's statement said the court's reach was not based on a principle of universal jurisdiction and it could open investigations only if asked to do so by either the UN Security Council or by a recognised state.

Palestine does not have full UN membership.

Read more on:    international criminal court  |  palestine  |  israel  |  middle east peace  | 

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