Wednesday, January 14, 2009

ICC overlooks Israel's war crimes allegation

Press TV reports: The International Criminal Court prosecutor says it lacks jurisdiction to investigate possible Israeli war crimes committed in Gaza.

The ICC prosecutor said in a statement Wednesday that the "court's jurisdiction is limited to war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of genocide committed on the territory of, or by a national of, a state party while Israel is not a member state.

Tel Aviv launched Operation Cast Lead on December 27 to put an end to rocket attacks against southern Israeli towns. At least 1,015 Palestinians have died during the offensive, while some 4,700 others are reported wounded.

Hamas, the democratically-elected ruler of the coastal sliver, demands a cessation of an 18-month Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip before its fighters suspend the rocket attacks.

The huge number of civilian casualties in the densely-populated coastal sliver has provoked widespread outcries around the globe among many nations as well as their leaders.

A fierce controversy has also broken out over the alleged use of white phosphorus, also known by the military as WP or Willie Pete, by the Israeli army in Gaza.

Human Rights Watch says its researchers have observed the use of WP -- which causes horrific burns, severe injuries or death when it comes in contact with human skin -- by the Israeli military in the Gaza Strip.

The legality of the toxic chemical agent is a matter of debate, with many groups recognizing it as an illegal weapon, while international law allows its usage solely for smoke-screening.

The US intelligence has classified WP as a "chemical weapon."

There are also reports that Tel Aviv has used depleted uranium against civilians in Gaza.

The International body in The Hague made the remarks Wednesday after a Palestinian rights group called on the ICC to investigate Israel for committing war crimes in Gaza, Reuters reported.

"In Gaza at present, the ICC lacks such jurisdiction," Nicola Fletcher, a spokeswoman for the ICC prosecutor, said adding that the ICC can investigate Israel's war crimes only if Tel Aviv voluntarily accepted the court's jurisdiction, or if it is referred to the court by the United Nations Security Council.

Israel and the United States are not among the 108 signatories of the Rome Statute creating the Hague-based court in 2000 to investigate and prosecute war crimes.
Note: in yet another glorious landmark of its equally glorious history the "invincible Tsahal" has now killed more than 1000 people in Gaza.

The Saker