The International Criminal Court has opened a formal probe into alleged war crimes committed in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, Fatou Bensouda, the ICC's chief prosecutor, said in a statement Wednesday.
"Today, I confirm the initiation by the office of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court of an investigation respecting the situation in Palestine," Bensouda said.
The prosecutor specified that the probe would "cover crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court that are alleged to have been committed in the Situation since 13 June 2014, the date to which reference is made in the Referral of the Situation to my Office."
Bensouda emphasised that in accordance with the ICC's founding principles, investigations undertaken by her office are "conducted independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favour," and "cover all facts and evidence relevant to an assessment" on whether criminal activity has taken place.
The decision to undertake the investigation was made after carrying out what the prosecutor called a "painstaking preliminary examination" that took place over nearly five years in coordination with representatives from both Israel and the Palestinian territories.