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Germany files petition backing Israel over ICC war crimes probe

Germany joined the Czech Republic in backing Israel over the ICC war crimes probe [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 February, 2020

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Germany sought involvement in deliberations as to whether the ICC has jurisdiction to rule over war crimes in the Palestinian territories.
Germany filed a petition to the International Criminal Court on Friday requesting involvement in deliberations over the ICC's jurisdiction regarding war crimes in the Palestinian territories, according to Israeli media.

Germany filed a "friend of the court" (amicus curiae) petition backing Israel's hostility towards the prospect of an ICC investigation into possible war crimes in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Israel believes that the occupied Palestinian territories do not constitute a state under international law, thereby invalidating the ICC's jurisdiction over them.

Haaretz reported that Germany's petition maintains that "only States can become a party to the Rome Statute and does not include 'Palestine' on the list of State Parties published in the Federal Gazette."

"Palestine does not possess nor did it ever possess the jurisdiction that it would need to delegate to the Court so it may exercise its jurisdiction,'' the petition read.

According to Haaretz, Germany emphasised its support for a "negotiated two-state solution".

Hungary also filed its petition in support of Israel to the ICC on Friday, the Times of Israel reported. Earlier this month, the Czech Republic filed a similar request.

Last December, the ICC's chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced the existence of "a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation" into the Palestinian territories regarding war crimes.

Bensouda's statement was met with backlash from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who deemed it a "dark day for truth and justice".

Haaretz reported that Australia, Hungary, Austria, Saudi Arabia and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (which is composed of 57 member states) also filed petitions to participate in the deliberations sans specifying their stances. The Israeli and Palestinian bar associations submitted requests as well.

The ICC's preliminary investigation looked into the 2014 Israel-Palestine war which left 2,251 dead on the Palestinian side, the majority civilians, and 74 on the Israeli side, most of them soldiers.

It has also looked at violence near the Israel-Gaza border in 2018.

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