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Technical problems hinder probes into situations in Palestine - ICC chief

DOHA, May 24 (KUNA) -- President of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Judge Sang-Hyun Song said Tuesday that technical legal problems blocked the investigation Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo planned to conduct into the Israeli military campaign on Gaza Strip four years ago and other similar probes in the occupied Palestinian territories.
One of these obstacles is that both Israel and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) are not members to ICC's Rome Statute, Song told after opening the First Regional Conference on the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Ritz Carlton Hotel here.
Another problem is that the PNA is not a fully-sovereign state entitled to ICC membership or to bring lawsuits to the court, he said.
Asked why the ICC brought a charge against Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir while his country is not a state party to the Rome Statutes, Song said the case is different because the entire issue was referred to court under a UN Security Council resolution.
The ICC can investigate the Gaza blitz or any suspected crimes in the Palestinian territories only if the UN Security Council asks it to do so, he went on to say, affirming the impartiality of the court in handling any affairs of its state parties or other countries or regions under resolutions by the council.
"As a Judge of the International Criminal Court, I would like to stress that impartially and fairness are the cornerstone of all proceedings at the ICC," Song stressed.
Dealing with the ongoing conference, Song said it "gives us an ideal opportunity to discuss the furtherance of joint efforts against international crimes that concern all of humanity." "I hope that this historic event will pave the way for making the Rome Statute system of international justice even more global than it is today," he added.
The two-day conference, organized by the Public Prosecution Department in cooperation with the Arab League, aims to provide information about the function of the Rome Statute as well as the legal framework, mechanisms that ensure the impartiality of ICC, the policy of the Prosecutor's Office and ways to promote the protection of human rights in court proceedings. (pickup previous) ma.gb KUNA 242336 May 11NNNN