‘Israel’ worried senior military officials may be arrested under ICC probe

Following the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s ruling that it has jurisdiction to open a criminal investigation into ‘Israel’ for war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories, ‘Israel’ is worried about the possible detention of its senior military officials, local newspaper Haaretz reported.

The newspaper said that hundreds of senior Israeli security officials were expected to be called in for briefings following the ruling by the ICC, fearing they might be arrested abroad.

Haaretz reported in July 2020 that ‘Israel’ had prepared a confidential list of decision-makers and senior military and security officials who might be arrested abroad if the ICC authorised an investigation.

It said that the list was kept highly secret out of fear for those names within it.

According to Haaretz, Israeli officials have said that several states, who are members of the ICC, have agreed to warn ‘Israel’ of any plan to arrest Israelis.

It also reported that the listed people could be asked not to travel abroad in order not to put them at threat of arrest.

Meanwhile, the Justice Ministry is preparing to provide full legal protection for any Israeli who is subject to investigation or prosecution.

Earlier this month, the International Criminal Court said that its jurisdiction extends to territories occupied by ‘Israel’ in the 1967 war, clearing the way for its chief prosecutor to open a war crimes probe into Israeli war crimes.

“The Court’s territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in Palestine … extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem,” the judges said.

The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said in 2019 that there was a reasonable basis to open a war crimes probe into Israeli war crimes against native Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as well as Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank.

But she asked the court to determine whether she has territorial jurisdiction before proceeding with the case.

Palestine has asked the court to look into Israeli war crimes during its 2014 war against the Gaza Strip, when the Israelis killed 2147 Palestinians including women and children, and wounded 10870 others, as well as Israel’s construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem. Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.

(Source / 17.02.2021)

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