November 29, 2023

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News Bits:Israeli families bring war crime complaint to ICC: lawyer

Palestinians pray by the bodies of members of the same family killed in Israeli bombing, during their funeral in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on October 31, 2023. – Israel said on October 31 its forces battled Hamas inside Gaza overnight and struck 300 targets after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu categorically ruled out a ceasefire as a “surrender” to the Palestinian militant group. (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP)

The families of nine Israeli victims of last month’s Hamas attacks have lodged a complaint at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for suspected war crimes, their lawyer said Friday.

The families also want Hamas prosecuted for genocide, and the ICC to issue an international arrest warrant for its leaders, lawyer Francois Zimeray said in a statement.

On October 7, Hamas carried out bloody raids that Israeli officials say killed more than 1,400 people.

“The complaint concerns victims who were all civilians,” Zimeray said, adding that several of them were at the “Tribe of Nova” rave party — a music festival.

“The complaint states that the Hamas terrorists do not deny the crimes committed, which they have amply documented and broadcast, and that the… facts cannot therefore be disputed,” he said.

In an interview with France’s Radio Classique, Zimeray said he was always wary of “excessive qualifications” of events.

But, he said, he and his legal team had established that the “genocide” accusation “holds up before the law”.

Any individual or group can bring a case to the ICC, which is located in The Hague, but it is up to the court’s prosecutor to launch an investigation.

Contacted by AFP, the court was not immediately able to say whether it had received the paperwork.

The ICC, founded in 2002, investigates and prosecutes grave offences across the world.

In 2021, it opened a probe into Israel as well as Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups for possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories.

Its prosecutor, Karim Khan, has said that any suspected war crimes in the ongoing conflict would fall under the ICC’s jurisdiction.

ICC teams have not, however, been able to enter Gaza, or Israel which is not a member of the ICC.

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