Palestinian Accession to the ICC Statute: Hope for Justice and Peace

2 January 2015 - FIDH welcomes the accession today of the State of Palestine to the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and the Declaration to be presented on Monday, recognizing ICC jurisdiction over international crimes committed on its territory since 13 June 2014.

“By acceding to the ICC Statute, which covers war crimes and crimes against humanity, as well as numerous other international treaties, Palestine demonstrates unequivocal commitment to become a viable state that respects the rule of law and human rights,” said Karim Lahidji, FIDH President. “FIDH supports this courageous decision towards ending decades of impunity and restoring the rule of law, pre-requisites to the reestablisment of the peace in the region.”

FIDH has strongly and repeatedly supported ICC investigations in Palestine based on the extreme gravity of the crimes committed, particularly in Gaza in 2008-09 and summer 2014, and the lack of justice at the national level due to the unwillingness of the State of Israel and inability of the State of Palestine to genuinely investigate and prosecute the most responsible. [1]

During its last mission in Gaza last October/November 2014, FIDH denounced the tragic consequences of the so-called “Protective Edge” operation in Gaza and the daily discrimination against the Palestinians throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which combined with growing settlement extension in the West Bank and Jerusalem, constitute flagrant illustrations of the Israeli government’s total lack of will to find a negotiated solution. [2]

“Resorting to international criminal law represents for us the best tool to ensure justice for victims and prevent the perpetration of further crimes” added Shawan Jabareen, Vice President of FIDH and General Director of al Haq. “Implementing the ICC Statute in Palestine will give to victims a voice that was never heard by the international community.”

FIDH urges all States, in particular Israel and the United States, to abstain from sanctioning Palestine for exercising its right to accede to the ICC Statute.

FIDH has called on those EU States as well as Canada, which are States Parties to the ICC Statute but publicly opposed to such move in the case of Palestine, to put an end to their double standard policy regarding access to justice. [3]

“We call upon Israel, rather than sanctioning Palestine for such a move, to ratify the Rome Statute as well. We call upon the U.S. and all States publicly opposed to Palestinian accession to the international justice system to end their efforts to block accountability access and instead support the rights of victims to justice and redress,” says Katherine Gallagher, FIDH Vice-President and Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR).

FIDH calls on the ICC Prosecutor to open an investigation without delay on the crimes under its jurisdiction committed since at least June 2014 in Palestine.

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