ICC to hear Israeli war crimes case: human rights lawyer
Berlin, May 16, IRNA -- The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has agreed to take up the case of Israeli war crimes and genocide in Gaza, President of the Beirut-based International Coalition against Impunity (HOKOK) May El Khansa told IRNA in Berlin Friday.
"I have been told (by the court) that my case has been accepted, based on Article 12 Paragraph 3 of the Rome Statute," the prominent Lebanese lawyer said. El Khansa stressed she had strong incriminating evidence, including photos and CDs, which proved that Israeli leaders and soldiers were involved in committing crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide in Gaza during their December 2008- January 2009 military onslaught. The indictment included also the names of former US president George W. Bush, as well as his ex-secretary of state Condoleeza Rice and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, El Khansa said. The human rights activist was initially scheduled to meet with ICC General Prosecutor Luis-Moreno Ocampo in the Hague on Monday, however it had to be cancelled because Ocampo would be out of town at that time. El Khansa criticized the ICC for its delay in publicly declaring it had accepted the case. "There has been very much pressure by Israel against our case. I think this is what makes the prosecutor afraid to declare that the case has been accepted," she said. El Khansa added an ICC fact-finding group - comprised of the prosecutor's office - would soon be accompanied by a HOKOK legal team to Gaza to inspect "the evidence on the ground." Israel's 22-day brutal human assault on Gaza left thousands of Palestinians dead and wounded, among them mainly women and children. A recently released UN report said Israel's military intentionally fired at UN facilities and civilians hiding in them during the war and used disproportionate force. Missiles, bombs and small arms were all used by Israel against the UN - leading to dozens of deaths. The report's summary accused the Israeli army of "varying degrees of negligence or recklessness with regard to United Nations premises and to the safety of UN staff and other civilians within those premises, with consequent deaths, injuries and extensive physical damage and loss of property." OT**1394
End News / IRNA / News Code 489446