By Justice Hub
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has signed a bid to join the International Criminal Court. Under ICC rules, the Palestinians will have to wait 60 days from the signing of the Rome Statute before filing cases at the Court.
On 29 November 2012, Palestine became a non-member observer state at the UN. This paved the way for Palestine to become eligible to sign up to the Rome Statute.
The move came a day after the U.N. Security Council rejected a resolution to end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem by the end of 2017.
What does this mean in terms of international justice and on the ground?
For now, it means nothing. The status quo will remain since the Security Council did not pass the resolution. The US State Department was deeply critical of the move, calling it an “escalatory step”.
The ICC cannot order Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank. However, the Palestinians could ask the ICC to begin an investigation into the ‘alleged crimes’ during the armed conflicts between Israel and Hamas.
To sum up, the accession to the ICC shall not change the status quo of the Israeli occupation, and the big question which might arise here is:
Is the Palestinians’ accession to the ICC an ill-timed and counterproductive move, or is it going to re-open the doors of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process?
For a more comprehensive analysis of the implications of the Palestinian move, check David Bosco’s article in Points of Order.
Background to Mahmoud Abbas’s move.