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Palestine to submit hundreds of documents to ICC for 1st time

June 25, 2015 12:30 P.M. (Updated: June 25, 2015 8:20 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Palestinian Authority foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki is scheduled to make the State of Palestine's first submission to the International Criminal Court in the Hague on Thursday in pursuit of war crime charges against Israel.

The PA foreign minister and a high-profile delegation are expected to arrive at the office of the prosecutor of the ICC at 3 p.m. and will deliver hundreds of pages of documents describing in detail Israeli breaches of international law, Palestinian ambassador to the Netherlands Nabil Abu Zneid told Ma'an.

“It will take the ICC a long time to take action, possibly 5-10 years as this is one out of a hundred steps,” Abu Zneid said.

The PLO will continue to collate information and testimonies to later be submitted to the ICC as evidence of Israeli crimes.

The report due to be submitted Thursday was prepared by a 45-member committee appointed by President Mahmoud Abbas in February and chaired by PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat.

The Higher National Committee includes PLO Executive Committee Members, political parties, security forces, unions, ministries and senior Hamas official in Gaza Ghazi Hamid.

A team led by five senior international lawyers commissioned by the PA guided the drafting of the report.

Committee member Mustafa Barghouthi, secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative, told Ma'an that Thursday is just the first step in removing Israel's immunity for violations of international humanitarian law.

The documents will include violations committed by Israel from June 13, 2014 to May 31, 2015 in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.

Among the specific cases is the mass Israeli crackdown on Palestinians living in the Hebron district in 2014, the war on Gaza last summer, and ongoing settlement activities and crimes against Palestinian prisoners, including administrative detention.

“Our goal is to prove that crimes were committed so as to convince the general prosecutor to start investigations," Barghouthi said.

"We are also seeking to remove the immunity of Israel and its leaders as we seek to reach justice, protect the Palestinian people and make sure criminals do not avoid punishment.”

Such achievements will strengthen international solidarity with the Palestinian people, including the BDS movement, he added.

On Monday, a UN Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict 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 PLO has been seeking to open criminal proceedings against Israel at the ICC as part of an increased focus on diplomatic maneuvering and appeals to international bodies.
Julie / USA
very glad and enormously relieved to finally see this action. in the 5-10 years it takes the ICC to do something meaningful, more israeli crimes will be committed. so keep documenting! every palestinian should arm themselves with video cams. best weapons against israeli crimes!
25/06/2015 18:11
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