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Preventing aid supplies to Gaza may be crime under ICC jurisdiction, warns top prosecutor

October 31, 2023 at 8:23 am

ICC’s top prosecutor Karim Khan at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza on October 30, 2023 [@CourPenaleInt/X]

Obstructing relief supplies to the Gaza Strip may constitute a crime under the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) jurisdiction, the body’s top prosecutor has warned.

Speaking to a news conference in Egypt on Sunday, the ICC’s top prosecutor Karim Khan told Israel that it must make “discernable efforts, without further delay to make sure civilians receive basic foods, medicine.”

In an unannounced visit earlier that day, Khan went to the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza, from where he posted a video on X. Although he was unable to gain entry into Gaza, he said he hopes to visit the besieged enclave and Israel while he is in the region.

Since the beginning of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza – following the operation on 7 October by Palestinian resistance group Hamas – the occupation hsa completely blockaded the Strip, banning the entry of food, water, medicines, fuel and aid. Over the past 10 days only 84 trucks of food, water and medical supplies have been allowed to enter Gaza through the Rafah Crossing, though no fuel has been allowed in. Prior to Israel’s bombing campaign, 500 trucks of goods were arriving in the Strip every day.

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Tel Aviv is not a member of the ICC and subsequently often rejects the court’s jurisdiction; it has previously refused to formally engage with its investigations.

Since 2021, the ICC has been investigating Israel’s violations of international law in the occupied Palestinian territories, particularly looking into the occupation’s possible war crimes and crimes against humanity from 2014 onwards.

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