GAZA (Xinhua) – Mohamed Bakker, Gaza city resident, is impatiently waiting to sue Israel soon at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for killing his son during the 50-day Israeli air and ground offensive launched on the Gaza Strip last summer.
Bakker, in his late 50s, is in a permanent contact with a work team of several Gaza-based right groups to prepare a case to sue Israel at the ICC for killing his child and three other children from the same family.
In late December, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed up to join the ICC and the Rome Statute that gives the Palestinians the right to file a case to the international court for crimes Israel committed in the Palestinian territories.
On July 17, the 10-year-old Ismail Bakker and three other children in the same age, were killed after the four were hit with a random shell fired directly at them while they were playing at the beach of Gaza.
The incident of killing the four children was the most significant sad scene during the Israeli military offensive which left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead and 11,000 injured, two thirds of them were women, children and elderly.
“It was totally unfair to directly kill my son and his three cousins in such awful way,” said Bakker, while looking at his child’s photo in the family’s house in Shatti refugee camp in western Gaza city.
He went on saying with grief, “Their childhood was smashed and justice was buried with them as long as those who killed them are still free and haven’t been punished for what they did. Suing Israel in the court won’t bring my child back, but we will feel satisfied once justice is considered.”
The case of killing the four Bakker children is one of thousands of cases the Palestinian rights groups in the Gaza Strip are gathering and preparing in order to take all these cases to the ICC once the state of Palestine officially becomes a full member in the court in early April.
The rights groups comprise al-Mizan, al-Dameer, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights and the Association for Human Rights.
Issam Younis, director of al-Mizan rights group in Gaza, said “This is the moment of reality to check the credibility of ICC for suing Israel for committing crimes in Palestine.”
The ICC announced on Friday that it launched an initial survey, a stage that precedes the probe into possible war crimes were committed in the Palestinian territories “to check if there is a reasonable base for starting the probe.”
Younis said the rights groups in the Gaza Strip “have already finalised most of the cases that will be submitted to the court. We are waiting for the moment when Palestine becomes a full member in order to hurry up and go to the court for suing Israel.”
“Most of these cases are related to crimes Israel committed during its last war on the Gaza Strip. These crimes are war crimes and anti-humanity crimes,” said Younis, adding “one of these crimes is destroying homes on the heads of its civilian inhabitants.”
The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) on Saturday welcomed the ICC’s launching of a preliminary probe into possible Israeli war crimes in the Palestinian territories.
The PNA Foreign Affairs Ministry said in an emailed press statement that “the decision is important and positive towards achieving justice and guaranteeing a respect to the international law.”
Also, Fawzi Barhoum, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said in an emailed statement the decision of the ICC to launch an examination into possible crimes in the Palestinian territories “is the right step in the right direction.”