George Mason University’s Middle East Studies Program, Global Programs, New Century College (NCC) and the Trans-Arab Research Institute welcomed four international law experts to discuss the political and legal implications of an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation of recent conflict in the Gaza Strip. This discussion was held on Monday, October 20, 2014.
In July and August, hostilities in the Gaza Strip left 2,131 Palestinians and 71 Israelis dead, including 501 Palestinian children and one Israeli child. Of Gaza’s 1.8 million residents, 475,000 are living in temporary shelters or with other families because their homes have been severely damaged. The extent of destruction has raised questions around culpability for war crimes on all sides of the conflict. International organizations including the United Nations Human Rights Council, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called for independent investigation.
Palestine is considering accession to the Rome Statute, which would grant the International Criminal Court the authority to investigate war crimes conducted in Palestinian territory. Such an investigation would bring both Israel and Palestine under scrutiny for events from this summer and as far back as 2012, and possibly to 2002 when the ICC was first formed to investigate war crimes.
This panel explored the relevant legal questions under international criminal law as well as the political issues related to ICC accession by Palestine. Panelists included: