Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), has, once and for all, settled the doubts on the Court’s jurisdiction to investigate war crimes committed in occupied Palestine.
On April 30, Bensouda released a 60-page document diligently laying down the legal bases for that decision, concluding that “the Prosecution has carefully considered the observations of the participants, and remains of the view that the Court has jurisdiction over the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
Bensouda’s legal explanation was itself a preemptive decision, dating back to December 2019, as the ICC Prosecutor must have anticipated an Israeli-orchestrated pushback against the investigation of war crimes committed in the Occupied Territories.
After years of haggling, the ICC had resolved in December 2019 that, “there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine, pursuant to article 53(1) of the Statute.”
Article 53(1) merely describes the procedural steps that often lead, or do not lead, to an investigation by the Court.
That Article is satisfied when the amount of evidence provided to the Court is so convincing that it leaves the ICC with no other option but to move forward with an investigation.