International prosecutor preparing to open Palestinian probe

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International prosecutor preparing to open Palestinian probe. | Read:

Philippines News, Philippines Headlines

THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) took a major step on Friday, December 20, 2019 toward opening an investigation into alleged war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories, asking judges to outline the geographic scope of a future investigation.

The Palestinians welcomed the decision, with Saeb Erekat, a senior official, calling it a “positive and encouraging step" toward “putting an end to the impunity of the perpetrators and contributing to the achievement of justice.” She said there was a “reasonable basis” to believe Israeli forces, Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups committed war crimes during the 2014 Gaza war. She also said Israeli authorities may have committed war crimes related to the "transfer of Israeli civilians into the West Bank," a reference to Jewish settlements in the occupied territory.

At the Palestinians’ request, Bensouda opened a preliminary investigation in 2015 into alleged violations of international law following the Gaza war. In a legal opinion released Friday, Israel's Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said the Palestinians do not meet the criteria of statehood because they do not have sovereignty over defined borders.

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