The International Criminal Court (ICC) will proceed with its investigation into Israel over its policies regarding the Palestinians despite the continued application of the 1993 Oslo Accords, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced yesterday.
This came in response to a 27 May request from the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber to clarify the status of the Oslo Accords and its impact on a war crimes probe against Israel.
Some had questioned whether the international court could probe Israeli crimes claiming the Oslo Accords gives Israel jurisdiction over criminal issues in the occupied West Bank, proving that there is no State of Palestine to send a case to the ICC, the Jerusalem Post explained.
Bensouda further expressed concern about the impact of annexation and stated that such a move by Israel would not have legal validity.
Palestine’s Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki said: “If Israel proceeds with annexation, a material breach of the agreements between the two sides, then it will have annulled any remnants of the Oslo Accords and all other agreements concluded between them.”
He added, “The State of Palestine will continue to cooperate with institutions of international law, including the ICC, to fight crimes and to hold accountable perpetrators of serious crimes against the Palestinian people in order to achieve justice.”
Israel has until 24 June to reply to the prosecutor’s recommendation, but may choose not to do so as not to give the ICC legitimacy, the Jerusalem Post said.
In December, the ICC’s office of the prosecutor concluded a five-year preliminary examination of the “situation in the state of Palestine”, concluding there were reasonable grounds to believe that war crimes have been, or are being, committed in the occupied West Bank.