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ICC to weigh Palestinian Authority standing to bring Gaza war crimes case

[JURIST] International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] said Tuesday that Palestinian National Authority (PNA) [IMEU backgrounder] president Mahmoud Abbas [BBC profile] had petitioned the court to exercise jurisdiction over possible war crimes committed in the Gaza Strip, but indicated the tribunal would first have to consider whether the PNA qualifies for statehood under international law before addressing the allegations. Under the ICC's Rome Statute [text], jurisdiction in a matter can only be transferred to the court when it involves a recognized, signatory state, or by special approval of UN Security Council [official website]. Israel, the country generally considered to possess the Gaza Strip, does not recognize the court.

Moreno-Ocampo previously said that the ICC lacked jurisdiction over the alleged crimes, but then indicated Monday that the court was nonetheless making a "preliminary analysis" [JURIST report] of the situation. Israel has already begun to consider defenses against possible war crimes charges [JURIST report], partly basedoin accusations [JURIST report] by groups such as Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] that it used white phosphorus [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] in a civilian area.

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