Hamas approves Palestine’s bid to join International Criminal Court
Hamas leaders said yesterday they had given their consent for the Palestinians to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), a move that could open up both Israel and the militant group to war crime investigations over the fighting in Gaza.
Moussa Abu Marzouk, a Hamas leader based in Cairo, said he had signed a document Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says all factions must endorse before he proceeds with the ICC push.
If the Palestinians were to sign the ICC’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute, the court would have jurisdiction over crimes committed in the Palestinian territories.
An investigation could then examine events back to the middle of 2002, when the ICC opened with a mandate to try individuals for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
Explaining the group’s decision to sign, Hamas official Mushir al-Masri said: “There is nothing to fear, the Palestinian factions are leading legitimate resistance in keeping with all international laws and standards. We are in a state of self-defence.”
There was no immediate comment from Israel, which is also not an ICC member.
It says Hamas has committed war crimes by both firing thousands of rockets indiscriminately at Israeli towns and cities and by launching the projectiles from densely populated areas in Gaza.