ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel on Wednesday sparred publicly with the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court who warned in an Associated Press interview that if Israel does not provide reliable information, she may be forced to decide whether to launch a full-scale investigation into alleged war crimes based only on Palestinian allegations.
Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem expressed “surprise” that Fatou Bensouda made the comments in the interview in which she said she has not received any information from either side regarding last summer's operation in Gaza, but that it was in the “best interest” of both sides to provide information.
It is surprising, the diplomatic sources added, that the prosecutor – obligated to act according to the rules of the courts and conduct her job “according to the highest standards of professionalism, prudence, independence, and lack of bias” – chose to related to these matters “through the pages of the newspaper.”
This type of behavior, the sources said, does “not add to the credibility of the process.”
“We hope that the Court will not allow the exploitation of its resources to address an appeal without legal basis that is driven by cynical political motives, and whose promotion will damage both the credibility of the court and chances to maintain an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue,” the sources said.
The sources added that Israel's position, as well as that of other countries including the US and Canada, is that the Palestinians are not entitled to join the ICC, and that the court does not have jurisdiction since – for one thing – “Palestine” is not a state. In this regard, the sources said, the prosecutor office erred when it agreed to open a preliminary examination into the matter in January.
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