The International Criminal Court in the Hague has opened a “preliminary examination” of possible war crimes conducted on Palestinian territory during the last year’s military conflict with Israel in Gaza.
A preliminary examination is the first step in the court’s legal process, and evaluates whether a full investigation is necessary.
In a statement released on the ICC website, its Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda promised that her office “will conduct its analysis in full independence and impartiality,” mentioning that no deadline has been set for announcing the results of the investigation.
Although the court may address fundamental issues, such as Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories following the 1967 war, the examination is likely to home on in on specific violations during the IDF incursion into Gaza last summer, in which more than 2,000 Palestinians, and 60 Israelis died.
“The case is now in the hands of the court,” Nabil Abuznaid, head of the Palestinian delegation in The Hague, told Reuters. “It is a legal matter now and we have faith in the court system.”
Israel has lashed out at the proposed examination, calling the fast-track decision “scandalous.”