Ha­mas ap­proves Pales­tine’s bid to join In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court

CityPress - - News - NI­DAL AL-MUGHRABI news@city­press.co.za

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.

– Reuters

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