Closer to Justice as Palestine Joins International Criminal Court

October 10, 2020 0 By HearthstoneYarns

The state of Palestine on Wednesday was officially welcomed as a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in a move many hope will be the first step toward justice after the prolonged occupation and last summer’s attack by Israel.

During a ceremony at the Hague in the Netherlands, Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Riad Al-Malki was presented the Rome Statute to symbolize the state becoming the 123rd party to join the court, which is charged with prosecuting the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.. 

“As Palestine formally becomes a State Party to the Rome Statute today,” Al-Malki said, “the world is also a step closer to ending a long era of impunity and injustice. Indeed, today brings us closer to our shared goals of justice and peace.”

Now that Palestine has become a sworn member of the court, the ICC has the authority to probe and prosecute alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.

Ahead of their formal joining, the Palestinian government on January 1 lodged a declaration, granting the court jurisdiction over events dating back to June 13, 2014 in order to cover the 2014 war in Gaza. On January 16, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda opened a preliminary examination into the situation.

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“I am looking at everything that is alleged to have been committed on the territory of Palestine,” Bensouda told Al Jazeera. “Depending on the facts and circumstances, my office will decide whether to continue to collect information, ultimately initiate an investigation or decline to initiate an investigation.”

The 2014 war in Gaza killed an estimated 1,500 civilians, including over 500 children. Further, more than 100,00 Palestinian homes, as well as hospitals and other critical infrastructure, were destroyed.