By Abdullah Asiran
THE HAGUE (AA) – The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday responded to a request by the Palestinian foreign minister asking them to investigate Israeli settlement building and alleged war crimes.
“Since 16 January 2015, the situation in Palestine has been subject to a preliminary examination in order to ascertain whether the criteria for opening an investigation are met,” Fatou Bensuda, the Netherlands-based ICC’s chief prosecutor, said in a statement.
“This preliminary examination has seen important progress and will continue to follow its normal course,” she said.
Bensuda said that her office evaluates and analyzes all information received independently regardless of who it was referred by.
“A referral or an article 12(3) declaration does not automatically lead to the opening of an investigation.
“There should be no doubt that in this and any other situation before my Office, I will always take the decision warranted by my mandate under the Rome Statute.”
The Rome Statute allows ICC to investigate if genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression have been committed in a state, which either unable or unwilling to do so itself.
On May 14, at least 65 unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza were martyred — and thousands more injured — by intense Israeli army gunfire.
The protests had coincided with the 70th anniversary of Israel's establishment in 1948 — an event Palestinians refer to as the “The Catastrophe ” — and the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, which took place the same day.