The International Criminal Court investigates last summer’s Gaza conflict


Alejandro Izquierdo, 16th February, 2015 – On January 15,  Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen, Assistant Secretary-General and interim for UN Political Affairs, warned the Security Council that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was entering uncharted territory as tensions between the two sides escalated. One month later, the situation has not improved.

The declaration came after both sides had experienced a worsening of relations amid a series of unilateral moves which had only served to deepen tensions.  On 30 December, Palestine submitted a draft resolution to the Security Council aimed at reaching a solution to the conflict and to put an end to Israeli occupation. When the resolution failed to pass, the Palestinian delegation signed instruments of accession to 18 international treaties, including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The following day, Israeli authorities froze some $127 million in tax revenues collected on behalf of the Palestinian authority for the month of December in violation of their Oslo Accord obligations.

International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court is an independent International Body. Photo: U.N.

One day after Jens Anders’s declarations, the Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, opened a preliminary examination based on Palestine’s declaration granting retroactive jurisdiction to the Court back to summer 2014, when the Operation Protective Edge was carried out by Israel. The opening of a preliminary examination means that Prosecutor will analyze “the information available in order to reach a fully informed determination on whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation pursuant to the criteria established by the Rome Statute”. In last summer’s Gaza conflict more than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel were killed.

Over the last two weeks, controversy has been centered on Canadian academic William Schabas, head of the Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry.Schabas resigned from his post over Israeli allegations of bias due to consultancy work he did for the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Interview with François Dubuisson

Internal Voices interviewed Fraçois Dubuisson on these latest news. He is a Public International Law professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) who specializes in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He has been studying the issue since he graduated from law school. However, he has been interested in the conflict since his early childhood as his father, a journalist at Le Soir the main French language newspaper in Belgium was himself an expert, travelling frequently to the middle East. François Dubuisson has written many academic papers about the subject, regularly appears in the Media, and collaborates with different NGOs.

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