Wednesday, February 4, 2009

ICC Takes First Step Towards War Crimes Probe

The Daily Star (Beirut, reporting from, The Hague), February 4, 2009 - The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said Tuesday he would determine whether there was such a legal entity as a Palestinian state, a precursor to a possible probe of war crimes in Gaza. Having received a request from the Palestinian National Authority to investigate the recent Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, Luis Moreno-Ocampo said: "My work is now to analyze this in accordance with [international] law."

Before a full investigation could be launched, he had to determine whether "the Palestinian Authority [PA] [has] the legal capacity, the legal ability, to accept the jurisdiction of the court," the prosecutor told reporters in The Hague.

The Rome Statute that created the ICC determined that only a state could do so.

"But who is the state in Gaza?" asked Moreno-Ocampo. "What is a state in international law, in particular in the Gaza territory - that is the discussion. It is a complicated discussion."

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