O The head of the ICC issued these statements after meeting this weekend with the Forum for the Families of Israeli Hostages in Gaza.
Khan classified the acts of Palestinian militia fighters in the attack they carried out on Israeli territory as “deliberate cruelty that shocks the conscience of humanity” and “for which the ICC was created”, after visiting Kibbutz Beeri, Kfar Aza and the festival site in Reim where hundreds of people were killed, in the biggest massacres of that fateful day for Israel.
“I call for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages taken by Hamas and other terrorist organizations. There can be no justification for holding hostages and even less for the flagrant violation of the fundamental principles of humanity by kidnapping children and continuing to hold them in captivity”, defended Khan.
“Hostages cannot be treated as human shields or bargaining chips,” he added.
The ICC prosecutor visited Israel in recent days, at the invitation of survivors and families of victims of the Hamas attack, and explained that his trip “has no character of investigation”, but was intended to “enter into a dialogue” and “express solidarity “.
During the meeting, the families of the hostages still in the Gaza Strip — around 132 alive and five dead bodies — asked Khan to “work to bring Hamas terrorists to justice for crimes against humanity and genocide.”
They also argued that “there is a real obligation to immediately open an investigation into those who participated in the cruelty and violence” of October 7 that sparked the war.
For his part, the ICC prosecutor expressed his willingness to work with the families of those killed and hostages to “guarantee accountability for those responsible” for the attack.
Furthermore, at the end of his historic first visit to Israel and Ramallah, he published written messages and videos on social media pledging to investigate the crimes committed by the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in Israel and by the Israeli Army in the Palestinian territories.
“An ICC investigation into possible crimes committed by Hamas militants and Israeli forces is a priority for my office,” he asserted.
Since 2021, the ICC has been investigating alleged war crimes in the territories occupied by Israel (West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip), committed both by the Israeli Army and by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups.
The Government of the Palestinian Authority, based in Ramallah, in the West Bank, ratified the Rome Statute in 2015, but Israel is not part of the court nor does it accept its jurisdiction.
The Palestinian Authority has turned to international courts to try to stop Israel’s current “war of revenge” in the Gaza Strip, accused the Hebrew State of committing crimes including “ethnic cleansing” and “signs of genocide” and demanded a ceasefire, which is “essential for the access of humanitarian aid”.
In a video message sent from Ramallah, where he met with the main Palestinian leaders, prosecutor Karim Khan stated that the investigation launched in 2021 is “moving forward at a good pace, with rigor, with determination”.
“And insisting that we do not act based on emotion, but on solid evidence,” he added.
Since the war broke out following the October 7 attack by Hamas, which killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, in Israel, and 240 hostages, there have been widespread accusations of violations of international law by Hamas and the Israeli forces.
Retaliation began immediately, with cuts to the supply of food, water, electricity and fuel in the Gaza Strip – since 2007 controlled by Hamas, classified as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel – and daily bombings, followed by a land offensive to the north of that territory, which has now been expanded to the south.
The war between Israel and Hamas, which continues to threaten to spread throughout the Middle East region, has so far left more than 15,200 people dead in the Gaza Strip, mostly civilians, and more than 40,000 injured, according to the most recent report. of local authorities, confirmed by the UN, and around 1.7 million displaced people, also according to the UN, plunging the poor Palestinian enclave into a serious humanitarian crisis.
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