The Palestinian Authority on Thursday presented the first batch of “evidence” to the International Criminal Court in support of its campaign to have Israel investigated for alleged war crimes, AFP reports.
“The state of Palestine (sic) has pledged to cooperate with the court including by providing it with relevant information and it is fulfilling its pledge today,” Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki told journalists after leaving the court.
“The information provided by the state of Palestine make a compelling case for the prompt opening of an investigation,” Malki added.
Maan News reports that ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in January launched a preliminary probe to see whether there was enough evidence for a full-blown war crimes investigation into last year’s conflict in the Gaza Strip between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.
The documents handed over on Thursday consist of two files: one about alleged Israeli “crimes” committed in Gaza during the 50-day war in July and August last year when over 2,200 Palestinians died.
The other file deals with Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including “information about the issue of Palestinian prisoners,” the Palestinian mission in The Hague said.
“Achieving justice is essential for the Palestinian victims, dead and alive,” said Malki. “Palestine has chosen to seek justice not vengeance, this is why we are here today.”
The PA’s submission of evidence comes three days after the UN Commission of Inquiry announced it had gathered “credible allegations” that both sides had committed war crimes during the conflict, which killed more than 2,140 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 73 people on the Israeli side, mostly soldiers.
The report decried the “huge firepower” used in Gaza, with Israel launching more than 6,000 airstrikes and firing 50,000 artillery shells during the 51-day operation.