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Middle East conflict finds new battleground at ICC

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Significance

The Palestinian Authority, recognised by the UN as the State of Palestine ('Palestine'), joined the Rome Statute of the ICC on December 31 by submitting to the UN secretary-general its instrument of accession. The accession will come into force on April 1. In addition, Palestine has lodged a declaration accepting the court's jurisdiction retroactively since June 13, 2014 with respect to crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territory. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda may now conduct investigations into, and if appropriate prosecute individuals for, crimes allegedly committed on Palestine's territory or by Palestinian nationals.

Impacts

  • The move will complicate Israeli settlement policy and attempts to protect nationals from prosecution.
  • The court has the authority to investigate crimes allegedly committed by all parties, including Palestinians and Israelis.
  • Political sensitivity may further encumber the process.
  • Facing early elections, Netanyahu will be unwilling to make any conciliatory moves towards the Palestinians.
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