Mar 04, 2021 18:31 UTC
  • Amnesty hails ICC war crimes probe in Palestinian territories as ‘momentous breakthrough’

Amnesty International has praised the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to open a war crimes investigation in the occupied Palestinian territories as a momentous breakthrough.

According to reports, head of Amnesty International's Center for International Justice, Matthew Cannock, said that Wednesday’s announcement by ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda that she is opening a full war crimes probe “is a momentous breakthrough for justice after decades of non-accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

He added, “The ICC investigation provides the first genuine prospect for thousands of victims of crimes under international law to gain long overdue access to justice, truth and reparations. It also offers a historic opportunity to finally put an end to the pervasive impunity that has driven serious violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) for more than half a century.”

“The decision sends a clear message to all perpetrators of crimes under international law in the OPT – you shall not escape justice.

He called on governments worldwide to offer their "full political and practical support" to the ICC as it begins its investigation, and urged the ICC as well "to immediately commence outreach to affected communities in the OPT."

Bensouda said in a statement her inquiry will be conducted “independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favor.”

The Palestinian Authority (PA) welcomed the prosecutor’s announcement.

It is “a long-awaited step that serves Palestine’s tireless pursuit of justice and accountability, which are indispensable pillars of the peace the Palestinian people seek and deserve”, the PA foreign ministry said in a statement.

Hamas resistance movement also praised the ICC’s move.

“We welcome the ICC decision to investigate Israeli occupation war crimes against our people. It is a step forward on the path of achieving justice for the victims of our people,” Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesman, told Reuters news agency.

“Our resistance is legitimate and it comes to defend our people. All international laws approve legitimate resistance,” Qassem noted.