An Israeli civil rights group has filed a complaint in the International Criminal Court against Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas for war crimes in the Gaza war against Israel.
The Shurat HaDin (Israel Law Center) group said that Abbas can be tried in the court in Hague because he has Jordanian citizenship.
The Palestinian Authority is not as member of the ICC, but Abbas has threatened he will apply for membership. If the PA is accepted, he could file war crime suits against Israel.
“Shurat HaDin will not allow Fatah to carry out rocket attacks on Israeli population centers, while hypocritically advocating Palestinian membership in the ICC, said Shurat HaDin director Nitsana Darshan Leitner. “Abbas falsely believes that alleged crimes against Arabs are the only ones that should be prosecuted,” she added.
Darshan-Leitner argued that Abbas, as head of the Fatah movement, “is liable for Fatah’s rocket attacks on Israeli cities during this past summer’s Gaza war.”
Fatah boasted that it launched missiles towards numerous Israeli communities, including Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot and kibbutzim in the Gaza Belt area.
Darshan-Leitner explained that Abbas’ Jordanian citizenship circumvents the previous obstacle to the ICC chief prosecutor’s argument that the court did not open an investigation into war cries in the war because neither Israel or the Palestinian Authority is a member of the ICC.
“Abbas is a Jordanian citizen and Jordan is a current member of the ICC,” she said, “The ICC is empowered to exercise its jurisdiction over all acts committed by the citizen of a member, wherever those acts are committed.”
The complaint notes Jordan has never prosecuted any Palestinian citizen for terrorism and it “has no means of obtaining custody of Mahmoud Abbas,” who lives in Ramallah under PA protection.
In September, Shurat HaDin filed an ICC complaint against Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who also possesses Jordanian citizenship, for Hamas’s extra-judicial execution of 39 Palestinian civilians in Gaza.