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Palestine hails report on jurisdiction over its territories

Ramallah, May 1 (IANS) Palestine welcomed the position of the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, to probe possible “war crimes” in the country, which falls within its jurisdiction.

Foreign Minister Riad al-Maliki said in a statement on Thursday that this position means that the court has territorial jurisdiction in Palestine, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Palestine and its people have faith in the international judiciary and its justice, it believes that the era of evading punishment has begun to fade away,” said al-Maliki.

He urged the judges of the pre-trial chamber “to issue its position as soon as possible, in harmony with the principles of international justice, ending the impunity or those whose crimes fall within the jurisdiction of the ICC, including war crimes and crimes against humanity”.

The top Palestinian diplomat said that Bensouda’s report was “a legal argument that asserts Palestine’s right to justice and to resort to the international judiciary, as well as confirming the transparency and integrity of the court”.

Bensouda’s report said that Palestine is a state, urging the pre-trial chamber I to confirm that the “territory” over which the court may exercise its jurisdiction comprises the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip.

The report came after Bensouda announced that the preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine “has concluded with the determination that all the statutory criteria under the Rome Statute for the opening of an investigation have been met” .

She had also requested the court investigate the parameters of its jurisdiction over the occupied territory, amidst highly politicized legal controversy.

Palestine joined the ICC in January 2015.

Under the Rome Statute, Palestine should enjoy sovereignty over its territories including East Jerusalem along the 1967 borders.

–IANS

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