LONDON: London’s Metropolitan Police war crimes unit has met a pro-Palestinian campaign group to hear allegations of war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza, The Times reported.
The International Center of Justice for Palestinians said on Tuesday it provided hard drives and detailed dossiers to the unit. This followed Scotland Yard’s appeal for evidence regarding crimes against humanity.
The ICJP said its evidence included witness testimonies, photographs, videos and other information about assaults on civilians and their properties. These related to alleged instances of starvation, hospital attacks and the use of white phosphorus by the Israeli military. The evidence implicates British politicians, including government ministers, Israeli officials and private individuals.
The ICJP has previously stated its intention to prosecute British politicians for aiding and abetting war crimes, The Times reported.
If Scotland Yard, the home of the Metropolitan Police, decides the evidence is strong enough it could ask the Crown Prosecution Service to press charges. Because the allegations involve war crimes, the CPS would have to seek permission from the attorney general. The International Criminal Court could also decide to hear the evidence.
For legal reasons, the names involved are kept confidential, but the ICJP has previously notified Sir Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry and David Lammy of their intent to prosecute. These Labour politicians are accused of defending Israel’s restriction of food, water and electricity to Gaza, The Times reported.
Scotland Yard’s counterterrorism unit has issued an appeal at British airports for witnesses to any crimes against humanity. The move, which comes as people enter the UK from the war zone and is being overseen by the force’s war crimes team, is part of the UK’s commitment to supporting an investigation into Israel launched by the ICC in 2019.
The police department anticipates a large number of potential witnesses and victims from the region and has distributed posters encouraging them to report allegations. These were seen at Heathrow and are believed to have also been displayed at other airports.
Headlined: “Travelers who have been in Israel/Palestinian territories,” they add, “If you have witnessed or been a victim of terrorism, war crimes or crimes against humanity, then you can report this to the UK police.”
Scotland Yard said its war crimes unit had received more than 40 referrals in recent weeks, including from individuals returning from the region. It is believed most of the reports contain allegations against Israel.
“The information within the referral will now be assessed by specialist officers as part of a scoping exercise to determine whether any further action or formal investigation will be carried out,” a Met spokesman told The Times.
“At this time, there is no UK-based investigation into this matter, or any other matters relating to this particular conflict.”