International Criminal Court could investigate Operation Cast Lead
The International Criminal Court could yet resurrect the Goldstone Report
from its grave.
2009, the Palestinians asked the ICC prosecutor's office to investigate
alleged war crimes committed by the Israeli military during its
December 2008-January 2009 Operation Cast Lead offensive in the Gaza
However, only a state can launch such a request under
international law, which is why former prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo
earlier this year decided to leave it up to the "competent organs of the
United Nations" to decide whether or not Palestine was a state.
that Palestine has attained non-member observer status, it may ratify
the court's founding treaty, the Rome Statute. That could open the door
for an investigation, despite intense pressure by countries including
the US, Britain and France to desist.
Independent from the UN, the
Hague-based court can prosecute individuals guilty of genocide, war
crimes and crimes against humanity, but only in countries that have
ratified the Rome Statute, or countries which recognises its authority.
As in the case of Libya last year, an investigation can also be opened through a UN Security Council referral.
a Security Council referral for an investigation remains remote --
Israel's staunchest ally the United States would likely veto the
decision -- there are two other possibles routes to a probe.
What could go wrong?
ICC's chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda may decide to ask ICC judges to
authorise a probe, or an ICC member country may refer a situation to the
prosecutor and ask her to investigate.
Labels: Gaza, Goldstone Report, International Criminal Court, Operation Cast Lead