Israeli legal organisation files claim of war crimes against Hamas' Meshaal

#InsideIsrael

The group said Hamas leader could be investigated by the ICC - he is a Jordanian citizen and Jordan is a member of the international court

Khaled Meshaal resides in Qatar where he is the chief of the Hamas political bureau (AFP)
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Thursday 12 February 2015 22:45 UTC
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A legal organisation in Israel has filed a complaint of war crimes against Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal with the intention of requesting that the International Criminal Court (ICC) open an investigation, according to local media reports.

The Shurat HaDin Law Centre has filed a claim stating that Meshaal holds responsibility for the summary execution of Palestinians who allegedly collaborated with Israel during the recent military assault on Gaza.

More than 20 people were executed, some publicly, by Hamas, who said they had provided information to Israel about the whereabouts of Hamas members.

The law centre said Meshaal could be investigated by the ICC as he is a Jordanian citizen, according to Haaretz.

“Meshaal is a Jordanian citizen and Jordan is a member of the ICC,” Nitsana Darshan-Leitner told the Israeli daily.

“The ICC is empowered to exercise its jurisdiction over all acts committed by the citizen of a member, wherever those acts are committed,” she added.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights has said that 24 people were killed for alleged collaboration in August and at the time urged Hamas to stop what it described as “extrajudicial executions."

The Israeli law group said Meshaal “had knowledge of the executions, oversees Hamas’ governance of Gaza, and actively encourages and supports the executions.”

Meshaal lives in exile in Qatar, where he heads up the Hamas political bureau.

The process for an ICC investigation is lengthy and complicated, which means the legal firm is unlikely to achieve their aim of an inquiry.

The ICC must first accept the case, then conduct a preliminary examination before approving a full investigation, which seems improbable given the court’s complex mandate.

It emerged last month that Hamas itself has urged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to join the ICC and pursue alleged Israeli war crimes committed in the Occupied Territories.

The decision to support joining the court, as revealed in an exclusive by MEE, came as a result of a meeting between chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and Meshaal.

Hamas decided to urge Palestinian membership of the ICC despite the fact that they could face war crimes charges themselves.

Speaking to Haaretz, a senior Hamas official said Abbas had been told to act “as soon as possible.”

“We are under occupation, under daily attack and our fighters are defending their people,” Izzat Rishq said during the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

“These rockets are meant to stop Israeli attacks and it is well known that Israel initiated this war and previous wars.”

More than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed during Israel’s seven-week long attack on Gaza.

73 Israelis were killed too, nearly all of whom were soldiers.