Synopsis: The recent ICC (International Criminal Court) ruling allows it to prosecute war crimes in Palestinian Territories. The ruling is welcomed by Palestine but criticized by the U.S. and Israel.
- Israel had been accused of committing atrocities in Palestinian Territories of West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1967.
- Palestine joined the ICC in 2015 but remained silent towards the atrocities during the Trump administration. It was because it didn’t want to end U.S. aid towards Palestinian Territories.
- It is notable that the US Congress was allowed to freeze US Aid in Palestinian territory if Palestine pursues its own legal matters.
- The change of administration in the U.S. allowed it to be more focal in the ICC. The recent February 2021 ruling of ICC is a result of this changed stance.
About the Ruling:
- It allows the ICC to investigate persons committing war crimes in the Palestinian Territories of West Bank and Gaza Strip.
- However, there is no possibility of immediate investigations, even on the cases already filed in front of ICC.
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Significance of Judgement:
- It will ensure accountability and justice delivery in the region.
- It will ensure that individuals and militant groups like Hamas are subjected to international law. Furthermore, it will impose adequate criminal responsibility on them.
The response of various countries:
- Palestine: It welcomed the judgement as a step towards correcting past injustices suffered by the country since the 1967 occupation of Israel.
- Israel: It criticised the judgement of being Anti-Semitic and accused the court of ignoring atrocities done by Iran and Syria in the region.
- US: It objected against the judgement and reminded that Israel was not a member of the ICC.
- India: It has refrained from commenting on the judgement based on its geopolitical interest as both Palestine and Israel share a good bond with it.
ICC has said that any future conduct would be based on a thorough examination of judgement based on principles of impartiality and objectivity.