‘ICC ruling’ over Palestinian Territories

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Synopsis: The recent ICC (International Criminal Court) ruling allows it to prosecute war crimes in Palestinian Territories. The ruling is welcomed by Palestine but criticized by the U.S. and Israel.

Background: 

  • Israel had been accused of committing atrocities in Palestinian Territories of West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1967.
  • Palestine joined the ICC in 2015 but remained silent towards the atrocities during the Trump administration. It was because it didn’t want to end U.S. aid towards Palestinian Territories.  
  • It is notable that the US Congress was allowed to freeze US Aid in Palestinian territory if Palestine pursues its own legal matters.
  • The change of administration in the U.S. allowed it to be more focal in the ICC. The recent February 2021 ruling of ICC is a result of this changed stance. 

About the Ruling:

  • It allows the ICC to investigate persons committing war crimes in the Palestinian Territories of West Bank and Gaza Strip.
  • However, there is no possibility of immediate investigations, even on the cases already filed in front of ICC.
International Criminal Court:

  • It is the only court in the world to try individuals for international crimes.
  • It is headquartered in Haque, Netherlands.
  • Not only that, but it is empowered to try crimes of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression.
  • A war crime is an act that constitutes a serious violation of the laws of war which includes intentionally killing civilians or prisoners, torturing, destroying civilian property among others.

Significance of Judgement:

  • It will ensure accountability and justice delivery in the region.
  • It will ensure that individuals and militant groups like Hamas are subjected to international law. Furthermore, it will impose adequate criminal responsibility on them.  

The response of various countries:

  • Palestine: It welcomed the judgement as a step towards correcting past injustices suffered by the country since the 1967 occupation of Israel.
  • Israel: It criticised the judgement of being Anti-Semitic and accused the court of ignoring atrocities done by Iran and Syria in the region.
  • US: It objected against the judgement and reminded that Israel was not a member of the ICC.
  • India: It has refrained from commenting on the judgement based on its geopolitical interest as both Palestine and Israel share a good bond with it.   

ICC has said that any future conduct would be based on a thorough examination of judgement based on principles of impartiality and objectivity.

 

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