RAMALLAH, Friday, December 20, 2019 (WAFA) – The Foreign Ministry welcomed today the announcement by the Prosecutor of the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) on opening an investigation into the situation in Palestine and Israeli crimes against the Palestinians in the occupied territories.
"The State of Palestine welcomes the announcement of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on concluding the preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine and the Prosecutor’s determination that all statutory requirements for opening an investigation have been met," said the ministry in a statement.
"Palestine also takes note of the Prosecutor’s request for a ruling from Pre-trial Chamber I, under article 19(3) of the Rome Statute, on the matter of the Court’s territorial jurisdiction in the situation in Palestine. Palestine welcomes this step as a long overdue step to move the process forward towards an investigation, after nearly five long and difficult years of preliminary examination," it added.
"We view this step as reflecting the Office of the Prosecutor’s intent to finally open an investigation into the situation in Palestine once the deliberations of the Chamber are concluded. After nearly 5 years of preliminary examination, the Palestinian people who seek redress in this Court expect actions congruent with the urgency and gravity of the situation in Palestine and they rightly demand that these steps are taken without delay," it said.
The Foreign Ministry added: "The State of Palestine notes that the Office of the Prosecutor already stated that it has jurisdiction over the entirety of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and that there are reasonable basis to believe that crimes have been committed therein. In this regard, the State of Palestine views this request as seeking a confirmation of the position already reached by the Office of the Prosecutor on jurisdiction.
"The State of Palestine will partake in the judicial process to reaffirm that this matter is already clearly settled as a matter of international law. The Office of the Prosecutor has jurisdiction over the occupied territory of the State of Palestine, given that Palestine is a State Party to the Rome Status and that the State of Palestine granted the Prosecutor jurisdiction to look into crimes committed in its territory.
"Nonetheless, the State of Palestine looks forward to an expeditious ruling from the Pre-trial Chamber I, in line with the timeframes set within the Chamber’s Practice manual, allowing for the Prosecutor to proceed with opening an investigation into the situation in Palestine without any further delay.
"Finally, the State of Palestine reaffirms that it remains committed to upholding its legal obligations as a State Party to the Rome Statute and will continue its steadfast record of cooperation with the Court.