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Controversy Over German President’s ICC Statements

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German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier claimed that the International Criminal Court (ICC) couldn’t investigate alleged Israeli crimes “due to the absence of Palestinian statehood.”

Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s controversial statements came during a meeting with the outgoing Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

“Israel has repeatedly experienced discrimination and pressure in its dealings with the United Nations and associated organisations, giving it a much more skeptical perspective. It has much greater confidence in itself than in international organisations,” Steinmeier said

“Germany nevertheless respects the independence of the International Criminal Court and its prosecuting authority”, he added.

In response, the Palestinian Authority slammed German President’s remarks as a “departure from the rules of international law” and an “interference with the ICC’s work and decisions”.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said: “The status of the State of Palestine at the international level as a state with all rights and duties, is not subject to the German president or his country’s opinion.”

The ministry called on the German President to stop granting “Israel impunity from accountability and punishment, and considering it a state above the law.”

In March 2021, ICC has opened a formal investigation into alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories after five years of preliminary inquiries.

ICC outgoing Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda declared that the investigation would “cover all sides and all the facts and evidence relevant to an assessment of whether there is individual criminal responsibility under the [ICC] Statute.”

Bensouda left her position on 15 June and was succeeded by Karim Khan, a British lawyer who was sworn in for a nine-year term.

Khan will be left to determine Israel’s fate in the criminal probe that Bensouda opened in March.

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