ICC prosecutor issues warning on Bedouin village demolition by Israelis

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah visits a school in Khan Al-Ahmar on Thursday. (AP)
Updated 19 October 2018

ICC prosecutor issues warning on Bedouin village demolition by Israelis

  • Israel's Supreme Court recently rejected a final appeal against plans to demolish the village, Khan Al-Ahmar.
  • Israel says Khan Al-Ahmar was built illegally and has offered to resettle its residents a few kilometers away

THE HAGUE: The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor has issued a warning that if Israel goes ahead and destroys a Palestinian Bedouin village in the West Bank that could constitute a war crime.

Israel's Supreme Court recently rejected a final appeal against plans to demolish the village, Khan Al-Ahmar.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a written statement that "evacuation by force now appears imminent."

She added: "It bears recalling, as a general matter, that extensive destruction of property without military necessity and population transfers in an occupied territory constitute war crimes" under the Rome Statute treaty that established the ICC.

Israel says Khan Al-Ahmar was built illegally and has offered to resettle its residents a few kilometers away. Palestinians and other critics say the demolition aims to displace Palestinians in favor of Israeli settlement expansion.

The ICC has been conducting a preliminary inquiry since 2015 in the Palestinian territories, including Israel's settlement policy and crimes allegedly committed by both sides in the 2014 Gaza conflict. Israel is not a member of the court and does not accept its jurisdiction. 

 

Israeli crimes

However, Israeli forces could face charges if they are suspected of committing crimes on Palestinian territories as the court has accepted the "State of Palestine" as a member.

Bensouda's written statement also said she is "alarmed by the continued violence, perpetrated by actors on both sides, at the Gaza border with Israel." 

There have been weeks of escalating violence along the border.


Russian court sentences 11 for Saint Petersburg bombing

Updated 41 min 52 sec ago

Russian court sentences 11 for Saint Petersburg bombing

  • All 10 people had denied the charges, and said they were tortured
  • The defendants were accused of acting as accomplices, by providing Djalilov with explosives and false documents

SAINT PETERSBURG: A Russian court on Tuesday sentenced 11 people to terms including life in prison after finding them guilty of a deadly bomb attack on the Saint Petersburg metro in 2017.
Abror Azimov, a 29-year-old from Kyrgyzstan, was sentenced by a military court in Russia’s second biggest city to life in prison for organizing and participating in a terrorist group.
Ten other people who are also from Central Asia were sentenced to between 19 and 28 years in prison.
All had denied the charges, and said they were tortured.
Shokhista Karimova, 48, pounded the glass of the courtroom cage and cried “let me go” after she was handed a 20-year term.
The bomb blast in April 2017 killed 15 people in the Saint Petersburg metro and wounded dozens more.
The alleged perpetrator, Akbarjon Djalilov, a 22-year-old from Kyrgyzstan, died in the attack.
Ten of the defendants were accused of acting as accomplices, notably by providing Djalilov with explosives and false documents.
The charges ranged from organizing a terrorist group and perpetrating an “act of terror” to weapons trafficking and making explosive devices.
Critics of the case say the defendants’ connection to the attack was not proven and some claimed they were framed by Russia’s FSB security service.
The suspects had been arrested in different Russian cities and detained in Moscow before being transferred to Saint Petersburg for the trial.
The prosecution said the defendants formed two “terrorist cells” in Moscow and Saint Petersburg and helped Djalilov by wiring him money and providing the explosives.
Defense lawyers and prison monitors have pointed to numerous irregularities in the case however and claim that evidence was planted.
One defendant claimed he was kidnapped from a hospital in Kyrgyzstan, while another said last month that they had been framed by the FSB after it “missed the terrorist.”
The bombing was claimed by an obscure group, the Imam Shamil Battalion, which experts say is linked to Al-Qaeda.