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ICC responds to bias allegations by Israel

ICC new chief prosecutor Karim Khan in Baghdad on July 27, 2019 [SABAH ARAR/AFP via Getty Images]
ICC new chief prosecutor Karim Khan in Baghdad on 17 July 2019 [SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images]

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has responded to Israel's allegations that it is biased and even anti-Semitic following the announcement that the court is to investigate possible war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories, Quds Press reported on Tuesday.

The ICC reiterated the fact that its jurisdiction covers the occupied Palestinian territories. It also stressed that it is an objective tribunal and that it is important to investigate the "dangerous" crimes on the basis of international law. The court insisted that the decision about jurisdiction over the occupied territories was not political, and pointed out that it is open to appeal.

ICC ruling brings hope for Palestine, dismay for Israel – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

In the document that it released to the media, the ICC explained that it is working within the framework of the Rome Statute, and it is going to carry out its mission and impose its jurisdiction according to legal principles. The court was established in 2002 and the Rome Statute, which was signed by 139 states, is the source of its authority.

The ruling regarding its jurisdiction, said the court, was issued after an initial investigation had been made by the current prosecutor, and it would continue to take effect. Although states which have not signed the Rome Statute are not required to cooperate with the court, it does have the authority to investigate people from such states.

The current ICC Prosecutor is Fatou Bensouda, who will step down in June. British barrister Karim Khan QC was elected to succeed Bensouda.

The ICC's declared intention to investigate possible war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories has enraged Israel. The government has apparently drafted a list of its officials and former officials who should avoid foreign travel as they may be arrested and charged with such crimes.

READ: New ICC prosecutor might go ahead in suing Israel

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