Palestine’s recent accession to the International Criminal Court is a crucial step toward accountability for grave crimes in the region and toward a peaceful resolution of one of the world’s longest running conflicts. The ICC’s jurisdiction will take effect on April 1st, making Palestine the 123rd state party.
In joining the Court, Palestine also submitted a declaration to the ICC under Article 12.3 of the Rome Statute granting the Court jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed on Palestinian territory since 13 June 2014—the date of the initiation of the Israel-Gaza hostilities this past summer.
“The Coalition fully supports Palestine’s accession to the Rome Statute,” said William R. Pace, convenor of the Coalition for the ICC. “For 12 years, the Coalition has urged all states to exercise their right to join the ICC, and key members have made special appeals to both Israel and Palestine to join the Court during the last year, which saw some of the deadliest and most destructive armed conflict between the two countries.”
“We hope this move will contribute to ending the cycles of violence between Israel and Palestine,” Pace continued. “Contrary to the position of some, Coalition members argue that enforcing international humanitarian law strengthens the peace process, while also giving victims recourse to legal remedy.”
Civil society has long urged both Israel and Palestine to join the ICC in order to stem well-documented mass violations of human rights during the course of the decades-long conflict between the two.