Rights Groups welcome entry into force of Rome Statute in Palestine and urge Prosecutor to open full investigation into crimes

FIDH and its member organisations in Palestine, Al Haq, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and Al Mezan, welcome the entry into force today of the Rome Statute in Palestine, 90 days after the State of Palestine acceded to the treaty on 2 January 2015. Accession to the ICC Statute represents a major milestone in fostering accountability and the rule of law.

Palestine is proving itself to be a State committed to justice and human rights by ratifying the Rome Statute and other international treaties, stated our organisations. We hope that the international community will support Palestine in its fight to end impunity, and urge Palestine and Israel to fully cooperate with the Office of the Prosecutor.

Before acceding to the ICC Statute (which will give the ICC jurisdiction for crimes committed after 1 April 2015), Palestine lodged a declaration under Article 12(3) on 1 January 2015 to extend the Court’s jurisdiction to cover all crimes committed from 13 June 2014 onwards, which led to the opening of a preliminary examination by the Prosecutor on16 January.

FIDH reported on the potential commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity by Israeli forces in Gaza in 2014 in the recent report “Trapped and Punished: The Gaza Civilian Population under Operation Protective Edge.” This report, based on an FIDH field mission to Gaza in October 2014, was also submitted to the Office of the Prosecutor to contribute to its analysis of the Palestinian situation currently under preliminary examination.

Considering the gravity of the crimes committed in the Occupied Territory of Palestine, particularly during last summer’s operation in Gaza and the ongoing attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank, FIDH urges the Prosecutor of the ICC to open a full investigation into the situation in Palestine without delay. Such an investigation should focus on all crimes under ICC jurisdiction committed by all the parties to the conflict.

With the entry into force of the Rome Statute, victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Palestine may now have the opportunity to access justice at an international level, concluded our organisations. We call for continued efforts to ensure that those responsible for crimes are held accountable and that victims ultimately receive justice and reparation.

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