The International Criminal Court (ICC) will delay its debate into whether it has the jurisdiction to probe alleged Israeli “war crimes” in Palestinian Authority-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem.
The reason for the delay is due to a procedural error related to the filing's page limit, the court announced Tuesday, according to Haaretz.
"The Chamber agrees with the Prosecutor that the nature, novelty and complexity of the issue, that is, the jurisdiction of the Court with respect to the situation in Palestine ... gives rise to 'exceptional circumstances,'" the court decision read, granting the prosecutor's request for an extension of the page limit but asking her to file a new request.
The ICC’s Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced last month that she intends to open a full investigation into alleged Israeli “war crimes”, but before opening a full probe, asked the ICC to rule on the territory over which it has jurisdiction because of the "unique and highly contested legal and factual issues attaching to this situation."
The prosecutor added, however, that she did not require any authorization from judges to open a probe as there had been a referral from the PA, which joined the court in 2015 and has since filed a series of legal complaints with it against Israel.
Bensouda’s announcement was criticized in Israel and also by countries such as Australia and Hungary.
Before the ICC said it would delay the debate on the jurisdiction, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called for sanctions against the ICC, saying its investigation into Israel’s actions against Hamas in 2014 was a “full frontal attack” on democracies’ rights to self-defense.