The Human Rights Council and its member states should support International Criminal Court’s investigation into the Israeli violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt) and remove all obstacles before the integrity, independence and impartiality of the investigation, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Right Monitor and Geo Expertise said in a joint statement at the Human Rights Council on Thursday.
The oral statement was delivered by Euro-Med Monitor’s advocacy officer, Ahmed Alnaouq, during Human Rights Council’s 46th Session Agenda Item 7 (held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
Victims of violations in the oPt received a glimmer of hope in attaining the long-awaited justice after the Court decided to open the investigation, after it had ruled that the Court’s territorial jurisdiction extend to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Alnaouq said.
The speech stated that since its occupation of the Palestinian territory, Israel has committed gross human rights violations, some of which may amount to war crimes, such as forced displacement, demographic change, settlements, collective punishment, and military attacks.
The two organizations stressed the importance of the beginning of the investigation and ensuring that Israel doesn’t impede it politically or in the field, whether by pressuring and influencing the Court’s committees and victims alike or putting field obstacles such as preventing the committees to enter the areas under investigation, given that Israel controls militarily all ports of the occupied Palestinian territory.
The speech stressed the need to end the state of impunity that Israel has always enjoyed, to provide justice and compensation to the victims, and deter Israel from continuing to violate the rights of the Palestinians.
On March 3, the Criminal Court decided to open an investigation into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Palestinian territories after it on February 5 that the regional jurisdiction of the court extend to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967.
For years, Euro-Med Monitor has been working with human rights organizations to document potential war crimes in the Palestinian territories, and to communicate with decision-makers and relevant international entities to punish Israeli leaders and soldiers for the violations they have committed against Palestinians.