Operation Cast Lead 311.
(photo credit: Bloomberg News)
LONDON – Amnesty International is urging the International Criminal Court in The
Hague to decide on whether it can investigate alleged war crimes and crimes
against humanity AI says took place during Operation Cast Lead.
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London-based NGO is calling on the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to make
the same call after it considers a report by a committee of independent experts.
The committee report looks at what it called the continuing failures of Israel
and Hamas to investigate violations of international law documented in the UN’s
“Both Israeli and Hamas authorities have been given
adequate time and opportunity to ensure justice for the victims, yet they are
both failing to do so,” said Widney Brown, a senior director of international
law and policy at Amnesty.
“An international justice solution must now be
Neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority has ratified the
Rome Statute, the treaty of the International Criminal Court adopted in
that established the court’s functions, jurisdiction and
However in January 2009, the PA declared that it accepted the
ICC’s jurisdiction over “all crimes committed in the territory of
since July 2002.
Amnesty said that since the PA accepts the ICC’s
mandate, “under the ICC rules it would cover all crimes committed during
[Gaza] conflict, both in Gaza and in southern Israel.”
waited long enough,” Brown said. “It’s now time the ICC prosecutor
decision on whether the Palestinian declaration submitted in 2009 allows
act. If the Pre-Trial Chamber determines that the ICC has jurisdiction,
prosecutor should open an investigation into crimes committed by both
during the Gaza conflict, without delay.”
Amnesty also called on national
authorities of all states to investigate and prosecute crimes committed
Gaza conflict in their national courts on behalf of the international
saying that all states can prosecute war crimes and crimes against
regardless of where they are committed. This is commonly known as
The controversial principle has been exploited by activists
over the years to try and arrest Israeli officials visiting the
Amnesty also urged the UN Human Rights Council to “recognize the
failure” of the investigations conducted by Israel, and called on the
facto administration in the Gaza Strip to comply with international law
Amnesty also wants to refer the committee of independent
experts’ report to the UN General Assembly and asks that UN
Ban Ki-moon place the report before the Security Council.