The government of Palestine submitted a referral [text, PDF] to the International Criminal Court [official website], which was received by the ICC on Tuesday. Palestine urges the ICC to investigate what it deems “war crimes and crimes against humanity” carried out by Israel’s government in Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.
Palestine alleges in its referral that Israel’s government has destroyed property, unlawfully occupied Palestinian territory, killed and tortured civilians, created “a system of apartheid,” and denied Palestinians their basic human rights.
The referral read, “The State of Palestine stresses the importance of achieving justice for the victims of crimes, reaffirms its commitment to cooperate fully with the Court and maintains that ensuring justice and accountability is crucial to achieving peace, to deterring the commission of crimes, and to the integrity and credibility of the ICC itself.”
ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said [press release] a referral “does not automatically lead to the opening of an investigation.” However, she said if she chooses to investigate, she can do so without approval from the Pre-Trial Chamber of the Court.
On Friday the UN human rights council voted [JURIST report] in favor of investigating Israel for alleged international law violations in Gaza.