A man evacuates a wounded girl after Israeli bombardment in Rafah in southern Gaza on November 17, 2023. / Photo: AFP

Five countries seek ICC probe into war crimes in Palestine

Referral has come from South Africa, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Comoros and Djibouti, says ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan.

Five countries, including South Africa and Bangladesh, have called for an International Criminal Court investigation into Israel’s war on besieged Gaza that has left thousands of people dead, its chief prosecutor said.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan said on Friday that South Africa, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Comoros and Djibouti — all ICC members — had sought an investigation of “the situation in the state of Palestine”.

Khan said in a statement that an investigation into events in besieged Gaza and the occupied West Bank started in March 2021 now “extends to the escalation of hostilities and violence since the attacks that took place on October, 2023”.

Khan, who recently went to the main crossing point between besieged Gaza and Egypt, said his team had collected a “significant volume” of evidence on “relevant incidents” in the war.

He appealed for more evidence to be submitted and added: “I will also continue my efforts to visit the state of Palestine and Israel in order to meet with survivors, hear from civil society organisations and engage with relevant national counterparts.”

“I call upon all relevant actors to provide full cooperation with my office,” Khan added — though Israel is not an ICC member.

South Africa’s Foreign Ministry said it was urging fellow ICC members to join the referral seeking an investigation.

“South Africa remains committed to ending impunity for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, and it is hoped that the situation in Palestine will be prioritised by the ICC in order to deliver justice to the victims of these grave crimes,” it said.

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