Arusha, August 4, 2014 (FH) – Both Israel and Hamas are committing war crimes that should be referred to the International Criminal Court, says human rights organization Amnesty International.

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In an open letter to the UN Security Council, Amnesty says the Security Council, the Palestinian Authority and Israel “must do everything within their power to enable the International Criminal Court (ICC) to bring to justice those responsible for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the current and past Israeli-Palestinian conflicts”.

“Over several decades, Amnesty International has collected compelling evidence of war crimes and other crimes under international law committed by Israel, Hamas and Palestinian armed groups, but perpetrators on both sides continue to enjoy impunity,” it continues. 

“Ongoing injustice for victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity is a shame that hangs heavy on the world,” said Amnesty’s Secretary General Salil Shetty. “Once again the international community has done little more than wring its hands over the latest hostilities.

“An International Criminal Court investigation is crucial to end the pervasive culture of impunity. All sides must push for the Court to investigate such crimes in order to halt the vicious cycle of violations and injustice once and for all.”

Amnesty says the UN Security Council has repeatedly failed to take effective action to respond to violations in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories or hold perpetrators accountable. “The UN Security Council must not stand by yet again and bear witness to mounting atrocities,” said Salil Shetty. “It must seize this moment to act decisively for justice.”