Middle East

ICC prosecutor vows to 'take any action warranted' over Gaza unrest

Palestinian protestors run past an ambulance during clashes with Israeli forces on May 15, 2018 near the border fence with Israel east of Jabalia in the central Gaza Strip. Palestinians were gathering today for fresh protests along the Gaza border, a day after Israeli forces killed dozens there as the US embassy opened in Jerusalem on what was the conflict's bloodiest day in years. / AFP / MOHAMMED ABED

THE HAGUE, The Netherlands: The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court vowed Tuesday that she was watching closely the unrest in Gaza and would "take any action warranted" to prosecute crimes.

"My staff is vigilantly following developments on the ground and recording any alleged crime that could fall within" the tribunal's jurisdiction, Fatou Bensouda warned in a statement to AFP.

"The violence must stop," she insisted, urging "all those concerned to refrain from further escalating this situation and the Israel Defense Forces to avoid excessive use of force."

Israeli forces killed 60 Palestinians during clashes and protests Monday over the deeply controversial opening of a U.S. embassy in Jerusalem

The Palestinian Authority joined the ICC in January 2015 signing up to the Rome Statute which underpins the world's only permanent war crimes court.

The Palestinians asked the prosecutor to investigate alleged crimes committed in the Palestinian territories in the Gaza war the previous year, and Bensouda opened her inquiry just a few days later.

She recalled Tuesday that the "situation in Palestine is under preliminary investigation by my office."

"I will be watching and I will take any action warranted by my mandate under the Rome Statute," she warned, a day after one of the bloodiest days for years in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Bensouda said she had learned with "dismay" of Monday's death toll, which meant that since the start of the Palestinian protests on March 30 the number of reported deaths was 106 "with several thousand others injured."

 

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