By Middle East Affairs
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court called Sunday for the violence to stop in the Gaza Strip, and that she was monitoring the conflict closely as Palestinian territories were “subject to a preliminary examination by her office,” Reuters reports.
After 29 Palestinians, including a journalist and two minors, died from gunshot wounds Israeli troops in the past two weeks, Fatou Bensouda said in a statement “any new alleged crime committed in the context of the situation in Palestine may be subjected to my Office’s scrutiny.”
Reuters said after Palestine was officially admitted as a member of the ICC court in January 2015 the prosecutor opened a preliminary investigation into alleged crimes committed in occupied Palestinian territory.
Israel is not a member of the court, according to the news agency, but if war crimes or crimes against humanity are committed on the Palestinian territory it could fall under the ICC’s jurisdiction.
“Violence against civilians – in a situation such as the one prevailing in Gaza – could constitute crimes … as could the use of civilian presence for the purpose of shielding military activities,” Bensouda said.
She said she would record “any instance of incitement or resort to unlawful force” by either side in the conflict.
Reuters said the preliminary examination is the first phase of an ICC case, and that “the prosecutor gathers information and studies whether crimes may have been committed that reach the level of gravity required to open a formal investigation, and whether the court would have jurisdiction.”
Palestine is a member of the ICC because its own government doesn’t have the power to prosecute war crimes or crimes against humanity.