Abbas orders body to oversee Palestinian ICC cases

The new committee will be headed by chief negotiator Saeb Erakat

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Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas on Saturday ordered the formation of a committee to oversee cases to lodge with the International Criminal Court, in a move likely to further anger Israel.

The Palestinians formally joined the ICC last month, in a move that will enable them to submit war crimes and crimes against humanity complaints against Israel.

The new committee will be headed by chief negotiator Saeb Erakat and include various figures from the Palestinian political scene, universities and human rights organizations, said the official Wafa news agency.

The committee “will identify and prepare the documents and records that the state of Palestine will present to the ICC,” the agency said, citing Abbas.

On January 16, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda opened a preliminary investigation into possible war crimes committed against Palestinians, including during last year’s Gaza war.

About 2,200 Palestinians and 73 Israelis were killed during the 50-day conflict in July and August.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted angrily to the prosecutor’s decision, calling it “scandalous” and “absurd” since “the Palestinian Authority cooperates with Hamas, a terror group that commits war crimes, in contrast to Israel that fights terror while maintaining international law, and has an independent justice system.”