Inicio NOTICIAS Israeli lawyer goes after Abbas, Hamas in ICC

Israeli lawyer goes after Abbas, Hamas in ICC

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Itongadol.- Says has unofficial green light from top officials, that "Palestine" is a fact
An Israeli law firm on Thursday formally announced its request to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensada, to open a criminal investigation into violations by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and nine members of Hamas for war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression.
The allegations include alleged war crimes against Israeli civilians and by the Palestinians against rival Palestinian groups, such as Fatah\’s forces against Hamas\’ sympathizers during rounds of Palestinian in-fighting.
After years of public threats by the PA to seek prosecution against Israeli soldiers and political leaders at the ICC, an Israeli lawyer, Mordechai Tzivin, was the first to strike filing a complaint and request for an investigation.
The request is unprecedented not only because it involves the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and because it is against Palestine as a state and its leaders but also because it is filed by an individual law firm and not by a state. Generally speaking, the ICC can only hear cases filed by states.
However, as Attorney Tzivin wrote in his request to the Prosecutor Bensada, the ICC has a little known and rarely used power to open an investigation and file an indictment against individuals for international law violations on its own impetus.
The power, referred to as the prosecutor\’s "propio motu" power, is generally not used by the prosecutor because it requires special approvals from the ICC itself and leaves the prosecutor\’s office exposed for using an extraordinary measure not requested by any state.
The request is a notable first as, in order to request an investigation and indictment, it recognizes a "Palestine State, formerly known as the Palestinian National Authority," recognition which Israel has fought against fiercely.
Some would see such a move as opening up a "pandora\’s box" as the forum could easily be used against Israel.
Asked whether he had coordinated his move with Israeli officials, Tzivin said that he had spoken with top legal officials in all of the key ministries as well as a top official in the security establishment.
Despite Israel\’s official position that there is still no state of Palestine, Tzivin said that he was either told that he had their blessing or that at least no one told him to hold back.
Tzivin added that his impression is that there is significant concern among top Israeli legal officials that the PA already has a stack of complaints ready to file against Israel and that it is just waiting for the right moment.
The case is also unusual because while the basis of the war crimes allegations against Hamas appeared to be Israeli government and human rights groups reports on Hamas rocket and other attacks on Israeli civilians, the basis of the case against Abbas appeared to be reports of alleged war crimes his security forces committed against supporters and sympathizers of Hamas.
At least in theory, anyone can bring information to the attention of the ICC prosecutor, even an Israeli lawyer reporting on allegations by Palestinians against Palestinians.
According to Tzivin\’s request, the November 29, 2012 UN General Assembly vote recognizing Palestine along with a 2009 declaration which Abbas has reaffirmed the ICC\’s criteria for accepting jurisdiction only against states which have accepted its jurisdiction.
Israel has never officially accepted the ICC\’s jurisdiction. The PA tried to accept ICC jurisdiction in April 2012 but its application was rejected in April 2012.
Because of all of the unusual aspects regarding Tzivin\’s request, its chances of success are not high.
However, Tzivin was undeterred, and optimistic about his chances and said he was traveling soon to the ICC to meet with officials there who he had connections with.
Top legal officials in the justice and foreign ministries had not responded to inquiries regarding the matter before press time.

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