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Hashim Yusuf: Arab League consults international partners on pursuit of Israeli war criminals

February 28, 2014 at 10:54 am

The Arab League is currently intensifying its efforts to prosecute the Israelis who committed war crimes against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and a delegation from the League’s General Secretariat has conducted two-days of talks with the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), revealed Ambassador Hisham Youssef, head of the office of the Arab League’s Secretary General.
The talks were attended by Palestinian Justice Minister Dr. Ali Al Khashan, the Palestinian Ambassador to the Netherlands, and a number of Palestinian legal experts.
Ambassador Yussef said that participants also included members of the independent investigation committee on the Israeli army war crimes and violations during the war on the Gaza Strip, which was headed by John Dugard and finished its report, “No Safe Place”  last April.

Talks have been taking place at the Prosecutor’s office since last May, after the Arab League’s Secretary General sent the committee’s report to the ICC’s Prosecutor, asking him to start investigating Israeli war crimes as per his jurisdiction, in line with the Rome Statute, which established the court, and also in light of the Palestinian announcement of accepting the court’s jurisdiction.
Yusef remarked that the Prosecutor has listened to the Palestinian Justice Minister interjection on the Palestinian announcement of accepting the court’s jurisdiction, and he also listened to the accounts of the independent committee’s members of their mission in Gaza. He received documents from the Palestinian and Arab League delegations, in addition to documents supplementary to the report of the Fact Finding Committee, which were submitted to the Prosecutor’s office by the Arab League last June.
The ICC’s Prosecutor asserted that he will study all the documents he received, and that he has made some enquiries and asked the Palestinians for additional information in order to be able to make his decision on whether it is possible to act in response to the Palestinian announcement, according to Ambassador Hisham Youssef.

Youssef pointed out that these talks, which have been prepared for since July, tackled Judge Richard Goldstone’s report and the developments related to it.

He asserted that the Arab League will continue its efforts on the decisions made by its Council’s different bodies, including the top level, so as to prosecute those accused of committing war crimes against the Palestinians.

Talks continue to discuss the possible ways to achieve that goal, according to Youssef, who said that Palestinians’ rights do not fall under the statute of limitations, and no one has the right to let go of the Palestinian victims’ rights.