Hague Criminal Court
Hague Criminal Court Reuters

Nasser Abu Bakr, head of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, has revealed that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has begun legal proceedings regarding what he describes as “Israeli war crimes committed against Palestinian journalists.”

At a press conference this week, Abu Bakr stated that, “The IDF command has given orders to soldiers to kill Palestinian journalists, and therefore IDF officers are to be held responsible for such actions and they should be made to answer for their crimes – those of them that can still be pursued under the statute of limitations.”

“From our perspective as a Journalists’ Syndicate, this is a historic day,” he continued. “I have been informed that the issue has been presented to the International Criminal Court, representing a victory for the rights of the Palestinian people, for journalists, for shahids (Islamic martyrs -ed.), the wounded, for prisoners, and for anyone who has undergone suffering due to the occupation.”

Among its allegations, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate claims that in the last year alone, it has documented 700 crimes and human rights breaches, including the killing of three journalists, the total destruction of 42 media offices, the partial destruction of 32 additional media offices, and attacks on the homes of 27 journalists.

In 2019, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said that the ICC has no jurisdiction to rule on matters in Israel – which is not a party to the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court – because the Palestinian Authority is not a state, and that it has been long established that the final status of the territories under dispute must be settled by negotiations, not criminal proceedings.

“Only sovereign states can empower the court with authority to judge criminal cases,” he said then. “The Palestinian Authority, quite clearly, does not fulfill the requirements of being a state based on the standards of international law and the Rome Statutes.”