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ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES/PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY: Following Palestine’s approval as non state party to the Rome Statute : Amnesty International urges it to take the next crucial step and ratify

18 Dec 2014
[International Secretariat]
Region: ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES/PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY
Topic: Regional conflict

On 8 December, Palestine was among the non state parties to the Rome Statute that requested observer status for the session of the Assembly of State Parties (ASP) to the International Criminal Court (ICC). President of the Assembly Ambassador Tiina Intelmann read out the request and, as no state objected, the request was approved without discussion.

Non state party observer status means that Palestine can participate in the discussions of the Assembly, though not, of course, vote in the ICC judicial elections going on this week or any other matter. Prior to this, Palestine had been an observing entity at other ASP sessions, so yesterday's move was an "upgrade" in the status it is accorded by the ASP.

The ICC was not involved in approving this move and it does not mean that the Court has jurisdiction over Palestine or Israel now. However, this development is significant in that it shows Palestine's engagement with the ICC; Amnesty International hopes it is an expression that Palestine is seriously considering ratification of the Rome Statute of the ICC. As there appears to be a strong basis for Palestine to ratify the Rome Statute, they should do so without further delay. That is the crucial step that needs to be taken in order to provide access to justice for victims of crimes under the jurisdiction of the ICC in the future.

Background

AI calls on the UN Security Council, Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel must do everything within their power to enable the ICC to bring to justice those responsible for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, said Amnesty International.

In particular, AI calls on the PA to submit a declaration accepting the ICC’s jurisdiction over crimes under international law committed since 1 July 2002, when the Court was established. Amnesty International also calls on the PA to become a party to the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC.

The PA has been consistently pressured by the USA, Israel, Canada, the UK and other EU member states not to take steps to grant the ICC jurisdiction; such pressure has included threats to withdraw financial assistance on which the PA depends. AI calls on all states to encourage Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to make Palestine a party to the Rome Statute.

10 December 2014
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC STATEMENT

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