January 31, 2013 - 14:30 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The International Criminal Court of Justice could hold Israeli culpable for West Bank settlement activity if the Palestinians become party to the Rome Statue, a United Nations Human Rights Council probe concluded on Thursday, Jan 31.
According to The Jerusalem Post, the three-person fact finding mission released a draft copy of its report in Geneva in advance of a March 18th council debate on the matter.
Israel cut its ties with the council when the probe was announced last March, in anticipation that it would add fuel to the Palestinian drive to bring Israel to the ICC on the settlement’s issue.
Israel believes that the resolution of the West Bank settlement issue should be determined through direct talks, and not imposed by the international community outside the framework of negotiations.
In the probe's conclusions, the mission’s report stated that Israel had an obligation under international law not to transfer its population into the Palestinian territories.
“The Rome Statute establishes the International Criminal Court's jurisdiction over the deportation or transfer, directly or indirectly, by the occupying Power of parts of its own population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory,” the report stated.
It added, “ratification of the Statute by Palestine may lead to accountability for gross violations of human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law and justice for victims.”
A UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission on West Bank settlements is set to release its report in Geneva later on Thursday.
The settlements probe is the sixth council investigation into Israeli activity in the Palestinian territories or on its borders, including in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.