Officials to address ICC, urge prosecution of Israeli war crimes 9Feb10 February 10, 2010

Ma’an News Agency -  9 February 2010


International Criminal Court prosecutors will host Palestinain officials in The Netherlands, where they will present arguments for the prosecution of crimes committed on Palestinian land during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, Reuters reported Monday.

Palestinian officials will present at the court in March, the ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampor told Reuters, noting no decision over whether or not to proceed with a case would be made until after their arguments were heard.

The ICC already launched a preliminary investigation in the fall of 2009, and the Palestinian Authority officially recognized ICC jurisdiction during the course of the probe.

In October 2009, Minister of Justice in the caretaker government Ali Al-Khashan presented papers at the ICC and answered several inquiries from the court that he said would guarantee Palestine a place within the Rome Statute and thus full membership at the court.

In order to become a member, a state must sign then ratify the Rome Statute. Once a state is a member of the ICC, the court can proceed with investigations into crimes which may have occurred on the territory of the member, or by a national of the member. The member is obligated to surrender suspects from their state once they have ratified the agreement. Members are also entitled to vote in the ICC’s governing body.

The ICC could also open a case if it is mandated to do so by the UN Security Council.

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