No End in Sight for ICC War Crimes Examination, Chief Prosecutor Says

Fatou Bensouda declines to say when her examination of alleged Israeli war crimes might end or whether she’ll influenced by UN report.

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International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda refused to say when she might complete her 18-month-long preliminary examination into allegations of Israeli war crimes during an interview with the Jerusalem Post, the newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Bensouda announced on January 16, 2015 that she was launching a preliminary examination to determine if there was a reasonable basis to the claim that crimes within the court’s authority to investigate had been committed by Israel. 

If the prosecution does decide to launch an investigation, it is possible they will not just investigate allegations of Israeli war crimes, but also actions committed by the Palestinians. 

The ICC prosecutor “would not even make an advance commitment to making a decision about whether to move from a preliminary examination to a full criminal investigation before the end of her term in 202,” the newspaper reported.

All that Bensouda would say was that “We are not looking, judging the whole judicial system of any state or any system that is supposed to have jurisdiction or that could exercise jurisdiction.”

“We are looking particularly at specific crimes and we are looking at specific conduct, we’re looking at specific persons, who bear responsibility for those crimes and what is being done with regard to thatand as I always say [we are doing this] in an independent and very impartial manner.”

Nor would Bensouda say to what extent she was bound by the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict, which was released in June 2015. 

“We are not judging what the report said or what it didn’t say, we are collecting information,” Bensouda said. “We take note of this reportbut I don’t feelour work is based on what other people are saying, but it is more based on the information that we collected, the assessment that we will make based on that information. As of now we do not collect from one source, we collect from different, divergent sources, we do cross-checking.”