Whither Palestine?

07 April 2015 by Janet H. Anderson, The Hague (The Netherlands)

On 1 April, Palestine became the 123rd member of the International Criminal Court (ICC). While acceding to the Rome Statute, it also accepted jurisdiction of the court from 13 June 2014, which kicked off a preliminary examination by the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) [IJT-173].

Palestinian foreign minister Riad Al-Malk receives a copy of the Rome Statute at the 1 April ceremony welcoming the ICC’s newest member state (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
Image caption: 
Palestinian foreign minister Riad Al-Malk receives a copy of the Rome Statute at the 1 April ceremony welcoming the ICC’s newest member state (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)

Commentary has focused on the extent to which the OTP may delve into Israel’s actions last year in the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge, which left over 2,000 people dead, into Hamas’ rocket attacks on Israel and even Israel’s long-term policy of settlements in the West Bank. But any action may take time; the OTP has nine counties undergoing preliminary investigations, some already a decade-old.

Nevertheless, the newest ICC membership is part of the political landscape: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, reports Al Jazeera, already threatened to take Israel to the court over withholding part of its tax revenue.

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