‘Alarming’: Palestinians accuse ICC prosecutor of bias after Israel visit | Israel-Palestine conflict News

Occupied West Financial institution — On December 2, Eman Nafii was certainly one of dozens of Palestinians invited to satisfy Prosecutor Karim Khan of the Worldwide Prison Courtroom within the occupied West Financial institution. Because the spouse of the longest-serving Palestinian prisoner in Israel, Nafi needed to talk to Khan about her husband and the Israeli occupation.

However Khan spent a lot of the assembly speaking, earlier than his workforce gave Nafi and different Palestinian victims simply 10 minutes to share their tales.

“Folks received indignant. They advised him, ‘You’re coming to hearken to us for 10 minutes? How are we going to inform you about our tales in 10 minutes,” Nafi advised Al Jazeera.

“One of many girls (with us) was from Gaza. She misplaced 30 members of her household within the (ongoing struggle). She shouted, ‘How can we clarify this in 10 minutes.’”

Whereas Khan ended up listening to the victims for about an hour, Palestinians worry that he’s making use of a double customary by solely focusing his efforts on Hamas and ignoring the grave crimes Israel is accused of getting perpetrated over two months of a lethal struggle.

Many have been upset that Khan accepted an Israeli invitation to go to Israeli communities and areas that Hamas attacked on October 7, whereas declining a suggestion from Palestinians to go to the tons of of unlawful Israeli settlements, checkpoints and refugee camps within the occupied West Financial institution.

Throughout his three-day go to, Israel additionally didn’t enable Khan to enter Gaza, the place Israel has killed greater than 17,000 folks and displaced a lot of the besieged enclave’s 2.3 million inhabitants from their properties since October 7.

Most of these killed have been girls and kids, whereas hundreds of younger males are actually being rounded up, lots of them stripped and brought to undisclosed places. Authorized specialists have warned that Israel’s atrocities in Gaza could quickly amount to genocide.

Regardless of the mounting proof and ongoing atrocities, Khan has proven little curiosity in severely probing Israel, based on Palestinian officers, victims and authorized students.

“Khan grew to become enthusiastic to begin this investigation [in the occupied territories] after October 7. That’s alarming,” stated Omar Awadallah, who oversees UN human rights organisations as a part of the Palestinian Authority, the political physique governing the West Financial institution.

“[The Palestinian Authority] gave him retroactive jurisdiction from 2014. [Khan] can not say that he didn’t see crimes being dedicated [in the occupied territories] from 2014 till October 7,” Awadallah advised Al Jazeera.

A viable various? 

On January 2, 2015, the state of Palestine grew to become a signatory to the Rome Statute, giving the ICC jurisdiction to analyze atrocities akin to struggle crimes, crimes towards humanity and genocide within the occupied West Financial institution and Gaza.

The transfer was perceived as a victory for Palestinian and Israeli human rights teams, which have been fed up with the Israeli judicial system for not punishing Israeli officers, settlers and troopers who have been committing crimes within the occupied territories akin to land theft and extrajudicial killings.

In keeping with Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights organisation that opposes unlawful settlements within the West Financial institution, Palestinians harmed by Israeli troopers have a lower than one percent likelihood of acquiring justice in the event that they file a grievance in Israel.

Whereas the ICC provides an alternative choice to Israeli courts, no arrest warrants have been issued towards Israeli officers or troopers for committing struggle crimes and crimes towards humanity in Gaza and the West Financial institution, based on a authorized professional from Al Mezan, a Palestinian human rights organisation that advocates for justice in Gaza.

“We have now submitted loads of authorized evaluation and proof to the workplace of the prosecutor even earlier than Khan was elected,” the professional, who requested for anonymity because of a worry of reprisal from Israeli authorities, advised Al Jazeera. “We consider that [Khan’s] workplace has sufficient proof to problem warrants for Israeli political and army leaders by now.”

After getting back from his three-day go to to Israel and the West Financial institution, Khan launched an announcement that made little mention of the mounting proof implicating Israel in committing crimes towards humanity akin to that of apartheid within the West Financial institution and struggle crimes within the West Financial institution and Gaza.

Khan merely stated that his go to was not “investigative in nature” and referred to as on Israel to respect the authorized ideas of “distinction, precaution and proportionality” in its ongoing bombing marketing campaign and floor offensive in Gaza.

Khan had a distinct tone when addressing Hamas’s October 7 assaults, calling them “severe worldwide crimes that shock the conscience of humanity”.

Khan’s assertion angered the Palestinian victims that he met briefly in Ramallah.

“What made us actually sad was what he wrote after the go to,” stated Nafi. “He’s not supposed to attract an equivalence between the sufferer and their killers. We needed him to inform the Israelis to cease what they’re doing to detainees and to [stop] what they’re doing to Gaza.”

Al Jazeera submitted written inquiries to Khan’s workplace which raised Palestinian criticisms of his go to to the West Financial institution and his assertion. His workplace responded by emailing Al Jazeera a number of of Khan’s earlier statements, with out answering any of the questions.

Politically compromised? 

In September 2021, Khan stated that he would deprioritise crimes dedicated by American forces in Afghanistan and focus his probe on the atrocities that the Taliban and the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-Okay) carried out.

Critics consider that Khan was acquiescing to political strain from the USA – a state that isn’t a celebration to the Rome Statute – which sanctioned Khan’s predecessor for daring to open a case towards American troops in Afghanistan.

However Khan justified his decision by claiming that the courtroom had restricted assets and that the Taliban and Islamic State dedicated extra severe crimes. Palestinians now worry that Khan might cite an identical justification to analyze Hamas, however not Israel.

“We have now but to see that any prosecutor has taken the query of Palestine severely, which exhibits that the entire system of worldwide legislation has been torn into items,” stated Diana Buttu, a Palestinian authorized scholar.

Buttu added that the ICC has successfully grow to be a courtroom that acts within the political curiosity of highly effective Western states, fairly than in accordance with strict authorized ideas.

She cited Khan’s choice to indict Russian President Vladimir Putin on accounts of struggle crimes dedicated throughout Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The ICC has grow to be a really political courtroom that managed to problem indictments towards Putin,” she advised Al Jazeera. “However eight weeks into what’s presumably the worst man-made catastrophe [in Gaza] and the prosecutor has remained silent and solely comes [to visit] on the request of Israel.”

Nafi agreed and added that Khan can’t declare to be ignorant or unaware of Israel’s atrocities towards Palestinians.

“How many individuals does he wish to see killed till he speaks up,” she advised Al Jazeera. “I would like him to be courageous sufficient, to say the reality and to say it in public.”

Further reporting by Al Jazeera correspondent Zein Basravi.

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