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ICC lacks jurisdiction to investigate Israel war crimes in Gaza: chief prosecutor

[JURIST] International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] on Wednesday said that the ICC has no jurisdiction to investigate possible war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza. Moreno-Ocampo's statement came after calls by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) [advocacy website] for the UN Security Council [official website] to refer Israel to the ICC [press release] for an investigation. Moreno-Ocampo said the court currently lacks jurisdiction over Israel because it is not a member state. The ICC could obtain jurisdiction over Israel if it is referred by the Security Council or if Israel voluntarily accepts jurisdiction.

On Tuesday, European Union Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Louis Michel [official profile] said that Israel is not respecting international human rights law [JURIST report] in the Gaza Strip. On Monday, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution [JURIST report] condemning the Israeli occupation in Gaza [press release] and demanding the immediate withdrawal of military forces. The council also decided to dispatch a fact-finding mission to investigate possible human rights violations. Last Friday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called for an independent investigation [statement text; JURIST report] of possible war crimes and human rights violations in the ongoing conflict [BBC materials] between Israel and combatants in the Gaza Strip. She called on Israel to respect the bounds of international law regarding the protection of civilians [Fourth Geneva Convention text], even if the Gaza combatants do not, stressing that Israel's responsibility to fulfill its international obligations is completely independent from the compliance of Hamas with its own obligations under international law.

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