Thursday 7 August 2014

Israel accused of war crimes at International Criminal Court

Thursday 7 August 2014

A FRENCH lawyer has lodged a complaint at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on behalf of the Palestinian justice minister accusing the Israeli army of “war crimes”.
More than 800 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s offensive in Gaza, launched on July 8 in response to Hamas militants firing rockets into the Jewish state.

The complaint targets “war crimes committed by the Israeli army in June and July 2014 in Palestine” in the context of the operation known as Protective Edge, Gilles Devers told reporters on Friday.
“Israel, the occupying power, is carrying out a military operation which in principle and form violates the basis of international law,” he said.
“Every day new crimes are committed and over 80 per cent of the victims are civilians. Children, women, hospitals, UN schools ... the Israeli soldiers respect nothing.

This is a military attack against the Palestinian population”
The Israeli offensive has left more than 5200 Palestinians injured, according to emergency services in Gaza, and 33 Israeli soldiers and two civilians have died, too.

The Palestinian Authority, which has non-member observer state status at the United Nations, has not yet signed up to The Hague-based ICC because of what Devers said were “political” quarrels over the Palestinians’ status.
But according to Devers, the complaint is still valid.

The UN Human Rights Council is launching a probe into Israel’s offensive in Gaza, with rights chief Navi Pillay saying the Jewish state’s military actions could amount to war crimes.
It comes as UN chief Ban Ki-mooncalled for an immediate “humanitarian pause” in the fighting in Gaza and Israel lasting through the Muslim holiday of Eid ul-Fitr.
Mr Ban’s call came after several meetings with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Egyptian officials aimed at ending the 18-day conflict that has killed more than 845 people, most of them Palestinian civilians.
“On this, the last Friday of Ramadan, I call for an immediate, unconditional humanitarian pause in the fighting in Gaza and Israel. This pause would last through the Eid ul-Fitr holiday period,” Mr Ban said in a statement released by his office.
Mr Ban said a halt in the fighting could lead to a “longer-term ceasefire plan”.
“But surely all parties can accept to lay down their arms for this holy period of celebration and reflection. Surely all can agree to stop killing each other for at least this brief span of time,” he said.
“The Eid humanitarian pause can and should take effect immediately — without conditions, without excuses, without delay.”

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