Tel Aviv, 29 Rabi’ul Awwal 1436/20 January 2014 (MINA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to launch a media campaign directed against the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague and its Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, according to sources at the Prime Minister’s office.
Netanyahu took this decision despite a specific recommendation by the Foreign Ministry not to refer to the prosecutor and court in negative terms and not to attack them directly, Israeli Haaretz quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
Over the weekend Bensouda announced that the court would begin a preliminary investigation of the “situation in Palestine”.
Palestinian membership in the court only takes effect on April 1 but the Palestinians requested the invoking of article 12.3. Under this clause a non-member state can request that the Court’s authority be provided for specific cases pertaining to that state.
The Palestinians asked the Court to extend its authority to the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem starting on June 13.
The International court on Friday opened an initial probe to see if war crimes have been committed against Palestinians, including during last year’s Gaza war.
“Today the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda opened a preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine,” her office said in a statement, adding it may lead to a full-blown investigation.
Bensouda said her office would conduct its “analysis in full independence and impartiality.
“A preliminary examination is not an investigation but a process of examining the information available in order to reach a fully informed determination on whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with a (full) investigation,” Bensouda said.
Depending on her findings, Bensouda will decide at a later stage whether to launch or quash the investigation, based on the initial probe.
Prime Minister Netanyahu convened a meeting at his office on Sunday, which included Defense Minister Ya’alon and other senior officials from the Defense, Foreign and Justice Ministries.
A senior official at the Prime Minister’s bureau said that a decision was made to take action to foil the Court Prosecutor’s decision to launch the preliminary investigation.(T/R04/R03)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)