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Report: Israel to Tell ICC It Does Not Recognize Court's Authority

Report: Israel to Tell ICC It Does Not Recognize Court's Authority

Thursday, 8 April, 2021 - 13:00
Public Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda attends the trial of Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda at the ICC (International Criminal Court) in the Hague, the Netherlands August 28, 2018. Bas Czerwinski/Pool via REUTERS

Israel will tell the International Criminal Court it does not recognize the authority of court, which is planning to investigate possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories, the news website Ynet reported on Thursday.

The Israeli website said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided not to cooperate with the probe after meeting with senior ministers and government officials ahead of a Friday deadline to respond to an ICC notification letter.

Prosecutors at the ICC said on Friday they have sent Israel and the Palestinians notifications of the opening of a war crimes probe, a move that leaves the parties with one month to seek a deferral.

Earlier this month the ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced she would formally investigate war crimes in the Palestinian Territories.

The Article 18 notification letters were sent on March 9 to all parties concerned including Israel and the Palestinians, Reuters reported.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority now have one month to inform the court if they are conducting their own investigations into the alleged crimes and want the probe deferred while that is ongoing.

Bensouda said in December 2019 that war crimes had been or were being committed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. She named both the Israeli military and armed Palestinian groups such as Hamas as possible perpetrators.

The ICC is set up as a court of last resort which can step in only if states are unable or unwilling to prosecute their nationals for crimes which fall under ICC jurisdiction.

Israeli officials argue that the ICC has no jurisdiction because Israel carries out its own investigations, including into what the Israeli military says were “exceptional incidents” during the 2014 war in Gaza between Israel, Hamas, and other Palestinian militant groups.

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