Zaka, Sderot mayor suing Hamas leader Mashaal

Seek to prosecute him for targeting, killing and wounding civilians in Kassam rocket attacks.

kassam attack 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
kassam attack 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Emergency rescue organization ZAKA and the Sderot Municipality are seeking to take the political head of Hamas, Khaled Mashaal, to the International Criminal Court of Justice in the Hague for crimes against humanity. ZAKA chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav told The Jerusalem Post that as his organization evacuates the dead from terror attacks, it suffers from Mashaal's actions, as does the city of Sderot, which is near the Gaza Strip and is under a constant barrage of Kassam rockets. The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established in 2002 as a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. It was founded by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court treaty, and can prosecute only those crimes committed on or after its founding. It is not the same as the International Court of Justice in the Hague, which is the primary judicial organ of the UN. So far, 105 states are members of the court, and an additional 41 states have signed but not yet ratified the Rome Statute. The court has jurisdiction only in cases where the accused is a national of a state party, the alleged crime took place on the territory of a state party, or a situation is referred to the court by the UN Security Council. It can exercise its jurisdiction only when national courts are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute such crimes; individual countries are largely responsible for investigating and punishing crimes. Since 2002, the court has opened investigations into the situations in northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and Darfur; it has issued nine public arrest warrants, and two suspects are in custody awaiting trial. Mashaal, who is in exile in Syria, must be held responsible for murdering and wounding innocent civilians, said Meshi-Zahav, who noted that the lawsuit was being prepared by State Attorney's Office lawyer Nick Kaufman. However, while Zaka-Sderot lawsuit singles out Hamas, other Palestinian groups - including the Fatah-affiliated Aksa Martyrs Brigades and its offshoots and the Islamic Jihad - have also launched numerous rocket attacks against Israeli communities in the western Negev.