The family of Palestinian activist Nizar Banat filed a case with the International Criminal Court on Thursday, accusing senior Palestinian officials of his death in custody, relatives told AFP.
Banat, a leading critic of the Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas, died in June 2021 after being dragged from his home in the occupied West Bank by security forces.
After his death, he was found to have been beaten in the head, chest, neck, legs and hands, and it took less than an hour from his arrest to his death.
“Our only hope is in the International Criminal Court,” the activist’s brother, Ghassan Banat, told AFP outside a courtroom in The Hague, Netherlands.
“After more than a year and a half of failure by the authorities to achieve justice, it is time to achieve justice for the martyr Nizar Banat.”
An individual or group may lodge a complaint with the ICC Prosecutor for investigation, but the court is under no obligation to undertake them.
The move marks the first time a Palestinian has filed a complaint with the ICC against another Palestinian, according to the family’s lawyer.
“We want justice for a man who has done nothing but speak truth to power,” Hakan Kamzu, the family’s attorney, said outside the courtroom.
– “There is no justice” –
The ICC prosecutor’s office last year launched a full-scale investigation into the situation in the Palestinian territory, including suspected crimes committed by the Israeli military, Hamas and Palestinian armed groups.
A family lawsuit filed with the ICC accuses seven Palestinian officials of being responsible for Banat’s death.
The decision was taken to bring the case to The Hague after 14 members of the Palestinian security forces were released on bail pending a military trial in the West Bank over Banat’s death.
Ghassan Banat said the man’s release earlier this year convinced him “that there will be no enforcement of justice.”
“At the time, we understood that the Palestinian authorities, the police and the security services had greater powers than the courts, that they were above the courts,” he said.
“That’s why we decided to move to the international stage.”
Banat’s death sparked rare protests in Ramallah, home of the Palestinian Authority, where demonstrators chanted “justice for Nizar” and forced Abbas to resign.
A poll last year by the Center for Palestine Policy Research and Research found that 63 percent of Palestinians believe Banat’s death was a “deliberate action ordered by the PA’s political or security leaders.” understood.
– “Tell people the truth” –
The dissident’s brother said he was killed “when he was disputing Mahmoud Abbas and telling people the truth about the real situation of the Palestinian authorities.”
Abbas, who has been president since 2005, called off long-delayed elections last year.
Al Jazeera’s broadcaster filed a lawsuit with the ICC last week over the murdered reporter Shireen Abu Akure, claiming she was deliberately shot dead by Israeli forces.
Abu Ackley was killed in May while covering an Israeli military raid in Jenin in the West Bank, which has been occupied by Israel since the Six Day War in 1967.
Israel is not a member of the ICC and challenges the court’s jurisdiction to investigate the situation in the Palestinian Territory.
The investigation will focus on the actions of all parties in the 2014 Gaza War, as well as other incidents such as the killing of protesters by Israeli forces in coastal Palestinian territories.
https://www.expatica.com/nl/general/family-of-dead-activist-take-palestinian-authority-to-icc-450808/ Family of dead activist brings Palestinian authorities to ICC