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Impeding Gaza-bound aid potential crime under ICC jurisdiction: Top prosecutor

A man reacts outside a burning collapsed building following Israel's bombardment of Gaza City, in the Gaza Strip, on October 11, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

The International Criminal Court (ICC)'s top prosecutor says impeding aid supplies bound for the Gaza Strip, which is currently under a complete Israeli blockade, may constitute a war crime that falls under the court's jurisdiction.

Karim Khan made the remarks while addressing reporters at a news conference in Egypt on Sunday.

Israel must make "discernible efforts, without further delay to make sure civilians receive basic foods, [and] medicine," the ICC prosecutor added.

On October 7, the regime started a brutal and devastating war against the Palestinian territory following an operation launched by the coastal territory's resistance groups.

More than 8,000 Palestinians have so far been killed in Israel’s deadly military campaign with women, children, and the elderly accounting for some 70 percent of the fatalities.

Ever since launching the war, the regime has been allowing no more than minimal relief supplies past the Rafah border crossing, which is Gaza's only land terminal with Egypt that bypasses the occupied territories.

The United Nations' officials have said, though, that the aid supplies hardly correspond to huge needs on the ground.

The ICC prosecutor made the remarks following a visit to Rafah earlier in the day. He then posted a video statement on X social media platform, formerly known as Twitter.

Khan said he was not able to get into Gaza, but hoped to visit the territory while he was in the region.

The court has been conducting an investigation in the occupied Palestinian territories since 2021, looking into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity there from 2014 onwards.

Palestine was accepted as an ICC member in 2015, three years after signing the court's Rome Statute. Israel is not a member of the court. It has previously rejected the court's jurisdiction and does not formally engage with its investigations.

Back in July, the Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas called on the court to expedite an investigation into the crimes and violations of the Tel Aviv regime and bring perpetrators to justice.

"Israel's attempts to avoid accountability must not impede its leaders' appearance before international courts," Hamas' legal department said at the time.

The resistance movement pointed out that nine years have passed since Palestine's accession to the Rome Statute, saying, “Despite this, little progress has been made in terms of implementing measures to address the situation in Palestine.”

Later, the ICC said it was to unveil an online electronic platform to allow Palestinians to sue Israelis for potential war crimes.

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