DUBAI: An Independent UN expert praised on Tuesday the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) of justice ruling that it had jurisdiction over war crimes committed in Palestinian Territories, and urged the international community to support the process.
Michael Lynk, who is the Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, called for “international cooperation” to ensure “the enforcement of international justice.”
“Ending impunity and pursuing justice can only bring us closer to peace in the Middle East,” Lynk said.
The ICC’s ruling on Friday paved the way for a criminal investigation, despite Israeli objections.
The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said in 2019 that there was a “reasonable basis” to open a war crimes probe into Israeli military actions in the Gaza Strip as well as Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank.
Lynk said that the ruling offered “profound hope to those who that consequences, not condonation, must be the answer to the commission of grave crimes.”
The Independent UN expert claimed that leading political bodies of the United Nations had “repeatedly failed” to enforce their own body of resolutions on the Israeli occupation.
“This ruling opens the door for credible allegations of Rome Statute crimes to finally be investigated and potentially reach the trial stage at the ICC,” he said.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) also welcomed the decision and said it would bring justice to both Palestinian and Israeli victims.
“It’s high time that Israeli and Palestinian perpetrators of the gravest abuses – whether war crimes committed during hostilities or the expansion of unlawful settlements – face justice,” associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch Balkees Jarrah said.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, rejected the ruling, referring to it as a “scandalous decision.”
“The (Israeli) Cabinet states that the tribunal has no authority to make such a decision. Israel is not a member of the International Court of Justice and the Palestinian Authority has no state status,” he said.
The US, Germany and Hungary also denounced ruling due to Palestine’s no state status.
“The court has no jurisdiction because of the absence of the element of Palestinian statehood required by international law,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted.