(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Fatou Bensouda, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), on Tuesday said she decided to re-open the preliminary examination of allegations that British troops committed war crimes in Iraq from 2003 to 2008.
She told a press conference that her decision was based on "substantial information, much more than what we had in 2006." The ICC has jurisdiction over crimes that are committed on the territory of a state party or by nationals of a state party to the ICC's Rome Statute. The UK is a state party.
Iraq is a not a State Party, but the ICC has jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed on the Iraqi territory by nationals of States Parties, in this case Britain.
She explained that she cannot go after American forces who allegedly committed war crimes in Iraq during the same period, because the US is not party to the Rome Statute.
She stressed that preliminary examination is "not an investigation. It is rather a process whereby we check whether the crimes have been committed and who is responsible for those crimes, whether the national jurisdiction is doing anything to address those crimes, and whether it will be in the interest of justice to carry on with the preliminary examination." There is no timeline, she indicated. "We continue to analyze the information and at some point we come to a decision whether to open an investigation or not. This is what we will do at this current stage." She added that her office will not say whether it will go after the military or the politicians in the UK. "We will just be looking at the persons, whoever they are, who bear responsibility for those crimes if we are going to investigate."