The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said she opened a formal investigation into alleged crimes by Israel in the Palestinian territories.
“Today, I confirm the initiation by the office of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court of an investigation respecting the situation in Palestine,” ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement issued on Wednesday. “The decision to open an investigation was preceded by meticulous preparatory work that lasted nearly five years,” the statement also said.
The decision comes a month after the court determined that the Palestinian territories were within its jurisdiction. The investigation will deal with crimes allegedly committed in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem since June 13, 2014.
Israel is not a member of the court and rejects its jurisdiction. Bensouda’s nine-year term is scheduled to end in July.
Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who was the military chief of staff during the 2014 Gaza war, said on Tuesday that he and hundreds of Israeli citizens might be subject to war crimes investigations by the court, and is working on how to protect them.