The Hague, April 3, 2012 (FH) - The International Criminal Court Prosecutor said Tuesday he had to suspend his preliminary probe into alleged war crimes committed in the Gaza strip until the UN rules on Palestinian statehood.

0 min 55Approximate reading time

"It is for the relevant bodies at the UN or the Assembly of State Parties to make a legal determination whether Palestine qualifies as a state”, the Prosecutor's office said in a statement released on April 3.

The court can only launch investigations if asked by the U.N. Security Council or an involved state that has recognized the court. Israel has never recognized its jurisdiction.

The Palestinian Authority unilaterally recognized the court's jurisdiction on January 22, 2009. The same day, several pro-Palestinian organizations gave ICC Prosecutor alleged “evidence” of crimes committed by the Israeli army in the Gaza strip between December 2008 and January 2009.

The Prosecution's office then opened a preliminary probe to see if there were grounds to proceed with an investigation.

According to the Head of Amnesty International's International Justice campaign, Marek Marczynski, “despite a very clear requirement in the ICC’s statute that the judges should decide on such matters, the Prosecutor has erroneously dodged the question, passing it to other political bodies.”

“Amnesty International once again calls on the Prosecutor to follow the procedures established by the Rome Statute by passing the matter to the judges, rather than frustrating efforts to bring justice to Palestinian and Israeli victims of the Gaza conflict”, Amnesty statement adds.