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ICC opens investigations into war crimes in Palestinian Territories

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dpa/GNA – The International Criminal Court (ICC) has officially opened investigations into war crimes committed in the Palestinian Territories, Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced in The Hague on Wednesday.

Bensouda did not give further details, such as possible suspects, which would be decided at a later date, she said.

All investigations “will be conducted independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favour,” she said in a statement.

Bensouda has been investigating both sides of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians for war crimes since 2015.

ICC judges had ruled in February that their jurisdiction extends to territories occupied by Israel, including the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, opening the way for the court to hear war crime cases brought against Israeli officers.

Israel does not recognize the ICC and had harshly condemned this decision at the time. The Palestinian Territories became a member of the court in 2015.

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Bensouda said in 2019 that she was convinced war crimes had been or were being committed in these areas, and that there was “a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation.”

In 2018, the Palestinian government referred a case to the ICC over Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, the killing of Palestinians during protests at the Gaza-Israel border and Palestinian prisoners being held in Israel.

Israel seized control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War. The Palestinians claim the territories for their own state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

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