PA to present arguments to ICC

Palestinians hoping for investigation into alleged Cast Lead war crimes.

Goldstone in Gaza 311 ap (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Goldstone in Gaza 311 ap
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Palestinian Authority officials will present more arguments in March urging the International Criminal Court to investigate possible war crimes allegedly committed during Operation Cast Lead, the court's chief prosecutor said in an interview with the Reuters news agency published on Monday.
ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said PA officials "will be back in March with more legal arguments, so we are letting them come here before making any decision…It is a very complex decision."
In 2009 the ICC launched an inquiry to determine if war crimes were committed. Hoping for a court investigation, the PA recognized the ICC's jurisdiction.
On Sunday Human Rights Watch said that Israel’s 46-page report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the measures taken to investigate war crime allegations involving Operation Cast Lead is unsatisfactory.
“Israel has failed to demonstrate that it will conduct thorough and impartial investigations into alleged laws-of-war violations by its forces during last year’s Gaza conflict,” the international human rights organizations wrote.
“An independent investigation is needed if perpetrators of abuse, including senior military and political officials who set policies that violated the laws of war, are to be held accountable.”
Last week, Israel submitted a document titled “Gaza Operation Investigations: An Update,” on the eve of Ban’s report to the General Assembly on progress made by Israel and Hamas in investigating alleged war crimes referred to in the Goldstone Report.
Israel’s update included one section on the various procedures the IDF employs in general to investigate suspicions of disciplinary or criminal violations by soldiers during military operations, and a second providing details on the status of 150 investigations carried out by the army regarding allegations of soldiers’ misconduct in Operation Cast Lead.
The Israeli report went into greater detail regarding four of the investigations into alleged war crimes that were among the 34 military allegedly criminal actions raised in the Goldstone Report. One involved the alleged aerial bombing on January 10, 2009, of the Bader flour mill.
According to Israel’s report to the UN, the IDF investigationdetermined that the mill was not bombed by a plane, but was apparentlydamaged by a tank shell during heavy fighting in the close vicinity.
“Inthe course of the operation, IDF troops came under intense fire fromdifferent Hamas positions in the vicinity of the flour mill,” thereport stated. “The IDF forces fired back towards the sources of fireand threatening locations. As the IDF returned fire, the upper floor ofthe flour mill was hit by tank shells.

Dan Izenberg contributed to this report.