Responding to the news that Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), has opened a formal investigation into the “Situation in Palestine”, Matthew Cannock, Head of Amnesty International’s Centre for International Justice said:
“Today’s confirmation by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court that she has opened an investigation into crimes under international law committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is a momentous breakthrough for justice after decades of non-accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
“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 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.
“We call on governments worldwide to offer their full political and practical support to the ICC as it begins its investigation, and we call on the ICC to immediately commence outreach to affected communities in the OPT and Israel.”
The investigation will cover crimes committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories comprised of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, since 13 June 2014.
For decades, Amnesty International and other organizations have gathered and published evidence of crimes under international law and other serious human rights violations by Israel and Palestinian authorities and armed groups in both the OPT and Israel.