The Palestinian justice minister says Hamas-led government is drafting a petition against Israel over Gaza air strikes. This petition is to be filed with the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague. On the other hand, the ICC is studying whether there is any legal avenue by which to investigate alleged war crimes committed by the Israeli Army in the recent military offensive in Gaza.
The question, however, is if the Hamas is a legitimate government of the Palestinian people. This quandary is based on the basic and primordial question of whether there is, indeed, a formal country or state such as Palestine.
The prosecutor of the ICC, Luis Moreno Ocampo, said that ICC has no jurisdiction over the case since Israel is a signatory to the treaty that created the court. However, Moreno Ocampo added that the court is now studying the possibility of indicting under a hypothetical Palestinian jurisdiction. Only a State may refer a case. The Palestinians claim that the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is the de facto “state” in the territory where the crimes were committed, said Moreno Ocampo.
Organizations defending human rights have accused Israel of committing war crimes with the use of white phosphorus in densely populated areas.