Impeding relief aid to Gaza may be a crime under ICC jurisdiction, prosecutor says

CAIRO Oct 29 (Reuters) – Impeding relief supplies to Gaza’s population may constitute a crime under the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) jurisdiction, the court’s top prosecutor told a news conference in Egypt on Sunday.

Karim Khan also said Israel must make “discernable efforts, without further delay to make sure civilians receive basic foods, medicine”.

Aid supplies to Gaza have been minimal since Israel began bombarding the densely populated Palestinian enclave in response to a deadly attack by its ruling militant group Hamas on Oct. 7.

Israeli officials have said that food, water and medicines have been coming in through the Egyptian border and that it expected the quantities to rise.

United Nations officials have said the aid supplies are limited and do not correspond to the huge need on the ground.

In an unannounced visit, the ICC prosecutor went to the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza earlier in the day and posted a video statement from his location on X social media.

Khan said he was not able to get into Gaza but hopes to visit the Gaza strip and Israel while he is in the region.

The court has been investigating in the occupied Palestinian territories since 2021, looking into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity there from 2014 onwards.

Israel, which is not a member of the ICC, has previously rejected the court’s jurisdiction and does not formally engage with its investigations.

Khan has previously said that the ICC has jurisdiction over alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during both the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Israel and in the territory of Gaza.

Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg and Bart Meijer in The Hague and by Hatem Maher in Cairo; Editing by Hugh Lawson