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Israel compiling secret list of up to 300 officials to face ICC prosecution: report

International law experts believe Netanyahu's name appears on the list, according to the report [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 July, 2020

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It is believed the ICC will regard the list of names as state admission of the officials' complicity in the alleged crimes.

Israel is compiling a secret list of military and intelligence officials who could be subject to international arrest and trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for their role in war crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, according to a Thursday report in Haaretz.

The list includes up to 300 individuals. It remains shrouded in secrecy to due to danger posed to those on the list, the report says.

It is believed the ICC will regard the list of names as state admission of the officials' complicity in the alleged crimes.

The ICC will shortly pass a ruling on whether to approve ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to investigate Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group who control the besieged Gaza Strip, over war crimes carried out in the occupied territories since 2014.

International law experts see the time frame as an indication of those who will face scrutiny first, namely those officials involved in Israel’s so-called "Operation Protect Edge", which saw the death of over 2,000 Palestinians, including over 500 children, according to Amnesty International.

That group would include Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the current and two former chiefs of staff, as well as the former and current heads of the Shin Bet security service.

The sheer length of the list also suggests that less high-ranking officials are included, the Haaretz report says, such as officials who have issued permits to settlements, since the issue of illegal Jewish settlement forms part of the ICC investigation.

A team of judges will decide if the conclusion of ICC prosecutor, which was announced in December, are justified and whether the court's legal authority extends to the OPT.

Israel reject the ICC’s jurisdiction on the basis that the Palestinian Authority is not a sovereign state and is thus incapable of delegating its judicial authority.

While the Jewish State does not intend to represent in any official capacity in the court’s proceedings, it has mulled whether to secretly fund an individual to act as a pseudo-defense lawyer, the Haaretz report says.

Both Israel and the ICC prosecutor leading the investigation have said that official declaration of annexation could further harm Israel's position in the proceedings.

Bensouda announced her basis for investigating war crimes in December last year through reference to Operation Protective Edge, ongoing illegal settlement activity as well as the shooting of protestors along the barrier between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

The latter, which began in March 2018, "reportedly resulted in the killing of over 200 individuals, including over 40 children, and the wounding of thousands of others." she and her staff have written.

Israel has tried to force the US into implementing sanctions against the ICC, in the hope that it could deter the investigation. Senior Trump officials have said a decision to investigate Israel was a "political move" which could promp actions by the US.

Read more: US 'firmly' opposes ICC probe into Israeli 'war crimes' against Palestinians, Pompeo says

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