The International Criminal Court (‘ICC’) is currently investigating whether or not is has jurisdiction over cases concerning human rights violations and war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories: East-Jeruzalem, the West Bank and the Gaza strip. In relation to this, the court previously announced that it would consider legal arguments on this topic submitted by both Israeli and Palestinian victims of the alleged war crimes.
On 12 March 2020, lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld submitted observations on behalf of inhabitants of the Palestinian village Khan al-Ahmar on the West Bank. She argues that and why the ICC indeed has the required jurisdiction. The village Khan al-Ahmar is located strategically along Route 1 on the West Bank and its existence is currently under threat. Israel has long since wanted to colonize the area and with a view to doing so, deport the villagers and destroy the village. Though the highest court in Israel previously ruled that there are no legal obstacles against evacuation, ICC-prosecutor Fatou Bensouda warned that this could be considered a war crime.
Many see Khan al-Ahmar as the front line of the Israel-Palestine-conflict. For the villagers, a decision by the ICC that it has no jurisdiction would mean that they have no effective legal avenue by which bring the violation of their rights before a court of law.