[JURIST] International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] has said that his office is considering arguments that the court may have jurisdiction over war crimes Israeli troops have allegedly committed in the Gaza Strip, according to a Monday report in the Times of London. Moreno-Ocampo had earlier said that ICC did not have jurisdiction [JURIST report] over the alleged crimes because Israel had not signed on to the treaty establishing the court, but said his office is now considering whether the Palestinian Authority [IMEU backgrounder] may originate the claims. Under the ICC's Rome Statute [text], the court may obtain jurisdiction over a non-signatory if alleged crimes are committed within its territory, but legal questions remain over whether the Palestinian Authority may transfer such jurisdiction given many countries' refusal to recognize its legitimacy as a state. In addition to the charges already filed by Palestinian groups, a Syrian-based Hamas group announced [RIA Novosti report] Monday that it plans to file charges of war crimes against Israeli leaders in international court.
Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] has accused [JURIST report] Israel of war crimes for allegedly using white phosphorus in the midst of a dense civilian population. The UN [UN statement; JURIST report] and international protesters [Times report] have claimed that Israel has used disproportionate force to retaliate against Gaza combatants. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert [official website] has said that his government will defend military officers [JURIST report] against war crimes allegations.
2/3/09 – The prosecutor's office told AFP Monday that it was making a "preliminary analysis" [AFP report] of possible war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza.