WEST BANK (Dispatches) – Palestinian rights groups have welcomed the International Criminal Court’s ruling that it has jurisdiction over the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and called on the court’s prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to take swift action.
Friday’s ruling opens the way for the ICC to investigate war crimes committed in the 2014 by the Zionist regime in the besieged Gaza Strip.
Bensouda said in December 2019 there was "a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem (al-Quds) and the Gaza Strip”.
The ruling means that the ICC can now open a war crimes investigation into the Zionist regime’s military actions in the occupied territories.
Several Palestinian rights groups praised the ICC’s "landmark decision”, and stressed that immediate action must be taken by Bensouda in order to "ensure justice and accountability for Palestinian victims”.
"A critically important step towards ensuring the rule of law, the decision also marks an important step towards ending impunity, while ensuring the dignity of the Palestinian people,” read a statement by rights groups Al-Haq, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and Al Dameer Association for Human Rights.
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement also welcomed the ICC ruling, and called on the body to "stop dragging its feet, resist pressure from the U.S., Israel and Western countries, and immediately do its job”.
The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has hailed the ICC for the decision to extend jurisdiction to the territories occupied by the Zionist regime since the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
"Any international decision that leads to supporting the rights of Palestinians, defends their freedom, provides them with justice and prosecutes war criminals is in conformity with human values and international human rights,” said Raafat Marra, the head of the Hamas media department, in a press release, the Palestinian Information Center reported on Saturday.
Separately on Saturday, the Arab League welcomed the ICC ruling as a "crowning achievement.”
"This decision is the crowning achievement of the diplomatic efforts exerted by the State of Palestine’s various official and legal institutions with full Arab support and solidarity by friendly international institutions in their serious and relentless pursuit for achieving prompt justice,” said Arab League Assistant Secretary-General for Palestine and the Occupied Arab Territories Affairs Saeed Abu Ali said in a press statement.
The court’s decision has raised alarm among Zionist officials and military personnel, who may face global arrest warrants as a result of the probe.
The Zionist regime says the ICC is "unauthorized” to probe its war crimes after the tribunal ruled that it has jurisdiction over the Palestinian territories.