International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on April 8 called for an end to the violence along the border of the Gaza Strip and raised the possibility of ICC prosecutions against Israel and Hamas. In her statement, Bensouda cautioned both sides about the "deteriorating situation" that has engulfed the region:
Since 30 March 2018, at least 27 Palestinians have been reportedly killed by the Israeli Defence Forces, with over a thousand more injured, many, as a result of shootings using live ammunition and rubber-bullets. Violence against civilians—in a situation such as the one prevailing in Gaza—could constitute crimes under the Rome Statute of the [ICC], as could the use of civilian presence for the purpose of shielding military activities… Any person who incites or engages in acts of violence including by ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing in any other manner to the commission of crimes within ICC's jurisdiction is liable to prosecution before the Court, with full respect for the principle of complementarity. The resort to violence must stop.
Bensouda reminded both parties that her office is in the midst of a preliminary investigation into allegations of war crimes, which has been ongoing since 2015 when Palestine was officially admitted as a member of the court. While Israel is not a member of the court, Israeli citizens who commit war-crimes or crimes against humanity on the territory of a member could fall under the jurisdiction of the ICC.
From Jurist, April 9. Used with permission.
Photo: Maan News Agency