MOSCOW, January 16 (Sputnik) — The Palestinian Authority is preparing to file a war crimes lawsuit against Israel prior to its accession to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Fayed Mustafa said Friday.
The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals accused of crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes committed since July 1, 2002, when its founding treaty came into force. Accession to the ICC is seen by the Palestinian authorities as means to prosecute Israeli politicians and military personnel for attacks against Palestinians.
He also stressed that the Palestinian Authority intends to take further steps towards its accession to various international organizations.
On December 31, 2014, the president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas signed the Rome Statute of the ICC, while on January 6, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the exact date of the Palestinian Authority's accession to the ICC as April 1.
Israel has condemned the accession bid, describing Palestinians' move as a unilateral step that undermines the prospect of peace talks between Palestine and Israel.
In July 2014, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalated as Israel launched an operation in Gaza Strip codenamed Operation Protective Edge, targeted at the Palestinian Islamic organization Hamas. It claimed the lives of over 2,100 people, mostly Palestinians, according to the United Nations. The mass casualties sustained during the 50-day war also form part of the lawsuit.