Middle East

'ICC has jurisdiction over Palestinian territories'

Court's territorial jurisdiction in Palestine extends to territories under Israeli occupation, says ICC

Zehra Nur Duz and Burak Bir   | 05.02.2021
'ICC has jurisdiction over Palestinian territories'

ANKARA

The International Criminal Court (ICC) decided on Friday that it has jurisdiction over crimes committed in the Palestinian territories.

“Today, Pre-Trial Chamber I of ICC decided, by majority, that the Court's territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in Palestine, a State party to the ICC Rome Statute, extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967,” ICC said in a statement.

The UN General Assembly in Resolution 67/19 "[reaffirmed] the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967," the statement said.

Based on the relevant UN resolution, the ICC found that the Court has territorial jurisdiction in Gaza City and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Palestinian territories, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem, have been under Israeli occupation since 1967. The occupation is considered illegal under international law.

Palestinian Justice Minister Mohammed al-Shalaldeh welcomed the ICC decision and considered it "historic". 

"The International Criminal Court decision is historic and means immediate commencement in investigating the grave violations on the Palestinian occupied territory," al-Shalaldeh said. 

He added that three files are prioritized for the court -- the Israeli war on Gaza in 2014, the Israeli settlement, and the Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails--.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the decision in a written statement.

"Today, the International Criminal Court has proven once more that it is a political body and not a judicial institution," Netanyahu said.

“In this ruling, the tribunal violated the right of democracies to defend themselves against terrorism, and played into the hands of those who undermine efforts to expand the circle of peace,” he added.

* Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara.

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