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US denounces ICC probe in Palestinian territories

Former US president Donald Trump imposed sanctions on the ICC's outgoing chief prosecutor [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 March, 2021

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The US criticised the ICC for probing into alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories.

The United States on Wednesday criticised the International Criminal Court for opening an investigation into alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories and voiced support for Israel.

"We firmly oppose and are disappointed by the ICC prosecutor's announcement of an investigation into the Palestinian situation," State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

"We will continue to uphold our strong commitment to Israel and its security including by opposing actions that seek to target Israel unfairly," he said, noting that Israel does not accept the court's jurisdiction.

Despite strong opposition from Israel and the United States, the outgoing ICC chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced that she was going ahead with a probe into the situation in the blockaded Gaza Strip as well as the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Under previous president Donald Trump, the United States imposed sanctions on Bensouda after she separately decided to investigate alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan.

President Joe Biden has indicated a more cooperative approach with the court, seeing its value, but has yet to end the sanctions.

"We are committed to promoting accountability, respect for human rights and justice for victims of atrocities," Price said.

"As much as we disagree with the ICC's actions relating to the Palestinian situation and of course to Afghanistan," Price said, "we are thoroughly reviewing sanctions."

Agencies contributed to this report.

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