Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud AbbasReuters

The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague refused the Palestinian Authority's request to open an immediate investigation against Israel over the deaths of 62 rioters during violent protests on the Gaza border last month.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda met Tuesday with PA Foreign Minister Riad al-Maliki, who submitted the request to investigate Israel.

"The mere submission of the request does not automatically lead to the opening of an investigation," Bensouda wrote in response. "Since January 16, 2015, a preliminary examination of the situation in Palestine has been conducted to determine whether there is an infrastructure for the opening of a criminal investigation, which has progressed substantially and will continue to be conducted in accordance with the Rome Statute."

However, the chief prosecutor clarified that she has the independent authority to open an investigation if she concludes that the situation justifies such a step, even without consultation in court. "That there is no doubt that in this case or in any other case brought before me, I will always make the decision in accordance with my powers under the Rome Statute."

Israel's Foreign Ministry condemned the PA move as a “a cynical move that is not legally valid. The PA continues to abuse the tribunal for political purposes rather than to promote political negotiations."