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Israel Law Center Files International Criminal Court War Crimes Complaint against Mahmoud Abbas

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner

Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center, an Israeli based civil rights organization announced today that they filed an unprecedented war crimes complaint against Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas in the ICC. The complaint states that the Fatah faction was responsible for numerous rocket attacks on Israeli cities during this past summer’s Gaza war, making Abbas personally liable for the terrorist groups’ criminal acts.

In a groundbreaking approach, Shurat HaDin Chairperson Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner claims that the Fatah leader can be prosecuted in the ICC because, “Abbas is a Jordanian citizen and Jordan is a current member of the ICC. The ICC is empowered to exercise its jurisdiction over all acts committed by the citizen of a member, wherever those acts are committed. Abbas should be immediately investigated and prosecuted for these rocket attacks against Israel.”

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According to the complaint, Abbas commanded the Fatah faction throughout the summer’s war with Israel during which time Gaza based terrorists from the group fired multiple rockets at Israeli civilian population centers. Targeting civilians with deadly weapons constitutes as a war crime under international law. The complaint states that, “Abbas is liable for the acts of these organizations because he is their responsible superior exercising effective command and control of them.”

During the course of the Gaza war the Fatah faction proudly boasted that it launched 122 millimeter and 107 millimeter rockets towards numerous civilian centers in Israel. On July 10, 2014, a Fatah military force launched two Grad rockets and four mortar shells at Kibbutz Nir Or, another location within Israel, and fired 112 millimeter and 107 millimeter rockets at Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot, Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha and the Sufa Crossing from Gaza. On July 25, 2014 Fatah terrorists launched three 107 mm rockets at Nirim. On July 27, 2014, Fatah claimed credit for launching three model 107 rockets at Kfar Aza. On August 8, 2013, the Fatah terrorists in Gaza fired four N103 rockets at Ashkelon and four 107 mm rockets.

In September, the Shurat HaDin law center filed a similar ICC complaint against Hamas leader Khaled Mashal concerning the terrorist chief’s responsibility for the extra-judicial execution of thirty nine Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Like Abbas, Mashal also possesses Jordanian citizenship. The complaint against Abbas notes that Jordan is either unable or unwilling to extradite and prosecute Abbas who resides in the Palestinian territories. The complaint notes that “although Jordan has wide-ranging anti-terror laws, these laws are applied in a patently unfair and politically-motivated fashion.” Jordan has never prosecuted any Palestinian citizen for terrorism and it “has no means of obtaining custody of Mahmoud Abbas.”

As such, Shurat HaDin’s war crimes complaint gives the ICC the jurisdictional basis to prosecute Abbas over allegations that the PLO itself perpetrated heinous crimes against Israeli civilians. “We believe the complaint being filed directly addresses Prosecutor Bensouda’s jurisdictional concern for prosecuting war crimes in Gaza, ” said Darshan-Leitner, “Shurat HaDin will not allow Fatah to carry out rocket attacks on Israeli population centers, while hypocritically advocating Palestinian membership in the ICC. Abbas falsely believes that alleged crimes against Arabs are the only ones that should be prosecuted.”

In recent days, Abbas and other Palestinian leaders have reiterated their threat to become members of the ICC and to charge Israeli government officials with war crimes. In November 2012, the Palestinian Authority upgraded its status in the United Nations in an effort to join the ICC. Shurat HaDin is exposing the Palestinians’ hypocrisy and criminality by demanding that terrorist organization leaders who authorized attacks against Israeli civilians be brought to justice in the ICC.



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