Palestine and the ICC

17 November 2010 by Marijntje Lazet

Last month, the International Criminal Court (ICC) held informal consultations in The Hague with 40 Palestinian NGOs. Michael Kearney, research fellow at the London School of Economics’ Law Department, was present as a representative of the NGO Al-Haq.

What was the main discussion point between the ICC and the Palestinian side?
Last year, the Palestinian Minister for Justice submitted a declaration under Article 12 of the Rome Statute. This is a process which allows for a state that is not a party to the Rome Statute to engage with the court’s process, and to transfer jurisdiction.

The main question is whether you can consider Palestine to be a state. I was making an argument that from the perspective of international law it is very difficult to determine by objective criteria what constitutes a state. Essentially it is a political process. Palestine has been recognised by around a hundred states, but it has not been recognised by the United States or the European states, and is not a full member of the United Nations.

Could you briefly explain the main points of the Palestine Declaration to the ICC?
The declaration on behalf of the Government of Palestine seeks to transfer jurisdiction over crimes in the Rome Statute - war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide - on the territory of Palestine to the ICC.

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