ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan emphasized the importance of unimpeded aid access to Gaza and highlighted the potential criminal implications under the Rome Statute if civilians’ rights to basic necessities are curtailed.
Speaking at a press conference in Cairo, Egypt, Khan urged Israel to ensure that civilians have adequate access to essential food and medicine. Stressing the significance of upholding international humanitarian law, he underscored that civilians, including children and women, have rights that should not be infringed upon.
Khan also expressed his intention to visit the Gaza Strip and Israel during his stay in the region. He reaffirmed the commitment of the ICC’s office to safeguard these fundamental rights and uphold accountability wherever it has jurisdiction.
Importance of Unhindered Humanitarian Assistance to Gaza
Humanitarian aid to Gaza has been limited since the onset of Israeli airstrikes on October 7 and the subsequent blockade, severely affecting the region’s access to electricity, water, and food supplies. Recent reports from Oxfam suggested that the Gaza Strip has only received a minute fraction of its usual food supply, highlighting the dire humanitarian situation.
The ICC has been investigating alleged crimes in Israel since October 7, and the prosecutor emphasized the independent scrutiny of events in both Palestine and Israel, including allegations against Palestinian nationals. While Israel is not a member of the ICC and has previously rejected its jurisdiction, the court retains the legal authority to investigate potential crimes within the territory of its members or by their nationals, especially when local authorities are unable or unwilling to do so.
Notably, the ICC’s role remains pivotal in ensuring accountability and upholding the principles of international law during periods of conflict and humanitarian crises.
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