The former prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Luis Moreno Ocampo has said that the investigation being carried out by the ICC concerning the issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, will most likely result in condemnation of Israeli officials since the establishment of settlements is considered a continuing war crime.
He added that the settlements constitute a clear legal violation of the Rome Statute and the rules of international law, which prohibit an occupying power from transferring its civilian population to an occupied territory.
During a special panel discussion organized by Al-Quds University yesterday evening, Ocampo said that the prosecutor's office has gone a long way in examining the issue of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
He denied the statements attributed to him by an Israeli newspaper a year and a half ago that settlements are not illegal, pointing out that it was not the first time that the Israeli press has presented its own interpretation of statements.
In particular, he stated that what was reported in the newspaper at that time is contrary to his firm legal convictions that the transfer of the civilian population of an occupying force onto occupied land constitutes a war crime.
Ocampo explained that the case brought by the State of Palestine before the ICC has caused huge discomfort among the Israeli side and is moving the Israeli government from an attack posture to one of defence, citing a quote by an Israeli official that Israel is recruiting more lawyers than soldiers as a result of the Palestinian complaint.