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Third anniversary of ICC prosecutor initiating a preliminary examination
[31 January 2018] - This month marked the third anniversary since the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (OTP) announced the opening of a preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine following its accession to the Rome Statute on 2 January 2015. The purpose of a preliminary examination is to establish whether the criteria for opening a formal investigation are met. Specifically, the Prosecutor considers jurisdiction, admissibility and the interests of justice in making this determination.
In December 2017, the OTP issued its annual report providing an overview of its preliminary examination activities in relation to 10 situations including Palestine. In relation to Palestine the focus of the activities during 2017 was mainly on settlement activity and alleged war crimes in Gaza. The Prosecutor noted that this focus should not be interpreted as excluding other areas of investigation.
Since the OTP opened a preliminary examination into Palestine it is estimated that the Israeli settler population in East Jerusalem and the West Bank has increased by around 73,500 and the number of Palestinian detainees transferred and detained out of the West Bank to prisons inside Israel reached 21,000, including around 1,200 children. These activities violate the Rome Statute (Art. 8) and the Fourth Geneva Convention (Art. 49 and 76).