The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague rejected on Tuesday the request of prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to investigate alleged Israeli war crimes. However, the decision was based on procedural grounds and left open the option for a revised submission.
The court said the request did not meet its requirements for consideration because of its length, but said Bensouda could file a new request if she meets the specifications, according to Ynet.
Bensouda’s request covered about 120 pages and the judges noted that even though she asked for permission to file a longer-than-usual brief, 110 pages would be the limit.
The court ruling was a setback for the prosecutor, who hoped to gain its backing by March 20. Such quibbling over an extra 10 pages likely indicates the ICC will not mind if the process stretches out, as The Jerusalem Post observed on Tuesday.
Bensouda announced on December 20, “I am satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine” — without specifying who was suspected of the alleged crimes, as the ICC concluded its preliminary review of the matter.
She added that before opening the probe she would ask the Hague-based tribunal to rule on the territory over which it has jurisdiction, as Israel is not a signatory to the Rome Statute — the founding charter of the court.
Palestinian entities cannot initiate any proceedings in the ICC, the opinion goes on to point out, as that can only be done by sovereign states — and they do not meet the criteria of sovereignty.