Wednesday, May 29, 2024

ICC Prosecutor: Blocking Gaza aid may constitute a crime


The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, has warned that blocking humanitarian aid from entering Gaza could be considered a crime. Khan made this statement during a visit to Egypt’s Rafah crossing, where trucks filled with much-needed supplies were unable to cross into Gaza.

The situation in Gaza is dire, with the territory facing a near-total siege and relentless Israeli bombardment. Since the siege began, more than 8,000 people have been killed, half of them children, according to the Hamas-controlled health ministry. The limited aid deliveries that have resumed through the Rafah crossing are not enough to meet the needs of the civilians in Gaza.

Khan emphasized the urgency of getting basic food and medicines to the people of Gaza without delay. He called on Israel to make discernible efforts to ensure that civilians receive the necessary supplies. The United Nations has also expressed concern about the deteriorating situation in Gaza, warning of a breakdown of public order after looting at food aid centers run by the UNRWA.

The International Criminal Court is currently investigating any crimes committed on the territory of Palestine, including those committed by both Israel and Palestine. Khan stated that his office is particularly concerned about the spike in reported incidents of attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank.

Khan also highlighted that hostage-taking is a breach of the Geneva Conventions and called for the immediate release of all hostages taken from Israel. He emphasized that both Israel and Hamas have clear obligations under the laws of conflict and urged them to comply with these obligations.

Established in 2002, the International Criminal Court is the only global independent tribunal responsible for investigating and prosecuting the world’s worst crimes, including genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The Palestinians became a signatory to the court’s founding Rome Statute in 2015. However, Israel, which is not a signatory, has refused to cooperate with the probe or recognize the court’s jurisdiction.

The situation in Gaza is a humanitarian crisis that requires immediate attention and action. The blockade and bombardment have resulted in immense suffering for the people of Gaza, who are in desperate need of basic necessities such as food, water, medicine, and shelter. It is essential that international aid is allowed to enter Gaza without any further delays.

The international community must put pressure on both Israel and Hamas to fulfill their obligations under the laws of conflict and ensure the safety and well-being of civilians. The International Criminal Court’s ongoing investigation into the situation in Palestine is an important step towards accountability for any crimes committed. However, it is crucial that all parties involved cooperate with the court’s probe and work towards a peaceful resolution.

In conclusion, the blocking of humanitarian aid to Gaza is a serious issue that could constitute a crime under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. The international community must take immediate action to ensure that aid reaches the people of Gaza without delay. Israel and Hamas must fulfill their obligations under the laws of conflict and work towards a peaceful resolution. The ongoing investigation by the International Criminal Court is a crucial step towards accountability for any crimes committed in Palestine.

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