Jan 28, 2022
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The Israeli legal group Shurat HaDin, the Israel Law Center, filed lawsuits with the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday against three Palestinian Authority leaders for war crimes, human rights offenses and terrorism.

The charges were filed following PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s move to join the ICC in order to prosecute Israel for war crime.

Indictments were brought against members of Abbas’s Fatah party: PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah; Deputy Minister Jibril Rajoub; and PA Intelligence Chief Majed Faraj.

The lawsuit filed against Faraj and Hamdallah detail the widespread use of torture and murder of Palestinian civilians living in PA controlled territories, a statement released by the group said.

“Faraj and Hamdallah, as commanders in the Palestinian security services, are directly responsible for widespread human rights violations committed [in the West Bank] against regular Palestinians by units under their authority,” the statement read.

Rajoub, according to the indictment, was fully aware of the violations and should be held “accountable for the actions committed under his auspices by his subordinates in the organization.”

Last November, Shurat HaDin filed a lawsuit against Abbas. In September, the NGO also filed charges at the ICC against Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal. The group is also pursuing this existing litigation.

According to Shurat HaDin, during the recent conflict between Israel and Gaza, “Fatah openly boasted in Facebook pages and other media channels that it launched projectiles that caused the injury and death of Israeli civilians – a war crime under international law.”

The NGO has called on The Hague to issue international arrest warrants for the three Fatah members.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, chairwoman and founder of Shurat HaDin, said that her organization will make things very difficult for Palestinian leaders at the ICC.

“Abbas and his friends in terror organization believe that the courts can be used as a weapons against Israel, while at the same time, the Palestinian leadership carries out crimes with utter impunity against their own people and against Israeli civilians,” she stated.

Darshan-Leitner explained that all three men are Jordanian citizens and can be prosecuted for offenses as far back as 2002.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner. (Photo: Shurat HaDin)

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner. (Photo: Shurat HaDin)

“The Palestinian leadership, however, may be tried by the ICC for the many terrorist acts and human rights abuses, including the Second Intifada, for which they are responsible, dating back to 2002, because they are Jordanian citizens and that is when Jordan joined the court,” she explained.

Darshan-Leitner noted that in signing the Rome Statute, “the Palestinian leadership is playing with fire.”

“The Palestine Authority can only file complaints going forward, because court jurisdiction over acts committed within its territory begins at the date that a state joins the court. Abbas can only complain about future events which occur in the presently undefined territory of the Palestinian Authority because Abbas attempted to join the ICC only now.”

On Saturday, in response to the PA’s bid to join the ICC, Israel froze NIS 500 million ($127 million) in Palestinian tax revenue which is collected on behalf of the PA. The Palestinians filed charges against Israel of war crimes it said the IDF committed during the recent war.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel “will not allow IDF soldiers and commanders to be hauled before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.”

LISTEN BELOW: Shurat HaDin Chairwoman Discusses the Consequences of Challenging Israel at the International Criminal Court

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