On Monday, 15 June 2015, in the presence of a number of
social and political figures in Khan Yunis, the Palestinian Center for Human
Rights (PCHR) organized a lecture delivered by lawyer Raji Sourani, Director of
PCHR, on the Palestinian resort to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in
PCHR’s branch office in Khan Yunis.
Sourani started with commenting on the Israeli report
published today about the 2014 Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip. He pointed
out that the report is nothing but a cheap reproduction of the Israeli official
narrative that justifies war crimes, and the report in itself constitutes a
document convicting Israel for the commission of war crimes because it includes
fallacies, reverses facts and acquit the Israeli occupation of charges and convicts
the victims. He wondered that if Netanyahu and Israel worked according to the
international law, why were they concerned over international inquiry
commissions and the ICC? Sourani emphasized that it is a right and a duty of human
rights organizations to prosecute Israeli war criminals throughout the world.
He added that the report definitely proves the full jurisdiction of the ICC; after
Israeli inquiry commissions and judicial system offered a legal cover for the
commission of war crimes by Israeli forces, it has been inevitable to resort to
the ICC. Sourani stressed that the Israeli judiciary covers up the Israeli practices
and violations of the international humanitarian law and human rights law,
pointing that no official and serious investigations were initiated concerning
the commission of crimes. In this context, he recalled the crime of targeting the
children of the Baker family, who were playing at the beach, the investigation
into which was closed by Israeli authorities without convicting any Israeli
Sourani addressed the history of the establishment of the
ICC and Palestine’s accession to the ICC Rome Statute. He also shed light on
joint efforts made by Palestinian human rights organizations to prepare files
and resort to the ICC. Sourani unveiled that four main cases will be taken to
the ICC: settlement activities, the annexation wall, Israeli-imposed closure on
the Gaza Strip and the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip in 2014.
During the meeting, Sourani indicated that within the 10
coming years, the work will be basically focused on these four cases. He
further pointed out that the legal efforts exerted by human rights organizations
are part of the higher human message to ensure the realization of the
Palestinian people’s rights, together with other efforts by other parties like legitimate
resistance and political struggle.
Discussion and questions were allowed at the end of the
meeting. The attendants appreciated PCHR’s ongoing efforts to promote human
rights and called for organizing more similar meetings. Sourani thanked them
for participating and emphasized that PCHR offers services to victims and its
doors are always open to receive them.