REUTERS – Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said on Tuesday after meeting prosecutors at the International Criminal Court that there was "clear evidence" that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza.
"In last 28 days, there is clear evidence of war crimes committed by Israel amounting to crimes against humanity," Malki told reporters after meetings at the ICC.
Malki said his administration was making efforts to have Palestine become a member of the court, a legal step that would grant the ICC jurisdiction over alleged crimes in the territory.
The ICC, created more than a decade ago to prosecute individuals for war crimes, is a court of last resort, meaning that it can only intervene when a country is found to be unwilling or unable to carry out its own investigation.
Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat this week urged the PLO and the various Palestinian factions to sign a document supporting a State of Palestine as a member of the ICC.
The signatories are members of the PLO Executive Committee, the Fatah Central Committee – including former Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia – and other heads of PLO organizations such as the Popular Front and the Democratic Front. Al-Malki has also signed, sources in Ramallah say.
According to the source, Erekat said that if Hamas and Islamic Jihad did not sign, he would demand that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas order the signing of the Rome Statute of 2002, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court.
On July 23, the United Nations Human Rights Council launched a commission of inquiry into alleged Israeli war crimes in its current Gaza offensive, backing the Palestinian efforts to have Israel held up to international scrutiny.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office at the time fiercely condemned the UN council's decision as a "travesty and should be rejected by decent people everywhere."