The Palestinians took the last formal step recently to join the International Criminal Court.
- Why? To pursue war-crimes charges against Israel over the recent conflict in Gaza and Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories.
- Israel has opposed this move and the U.S. has seen this as an obstacle to reaching an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
- The Palestinians moved quickly to join the court after suffering a defeat in the U.N. Security Council, which rejected a resolution recently that would have set a three-year deadline for the establishment of a Palestinian state on lands occupied by Israel.
- Joining the ICC is part of a broader strategy to pressure Israel into withdrawing from the territories and agreeing to Palestinian statehood.
- The General Assembly’s recognition of Palestine as an observer state made it possible for the Palestinians to join the International Criminal Court and other U.N. bodies.
- Once it becomes a member, Palestine could seek to have Israeli military or political figures prosecuted for alleged crimes involving settlement construction on occupied lands or actions by the military that cause heavy civilian casualties.
ISRAEL & PALESTINE CONFLICT
- The International Criminal Court (ICC), located in The Hague, is the court of last resort for prosecution of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
- It is the first permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.
- Its founding treaty, the Rome Statute, entered into force on July 1, 2002.
- As of July 2013, the ICC had 122 states parties, opened investigations in eight countries, and issued two verdicts (Lubanga case and Ngudjolo case).
- The governments on which the ICC depends to carry out its mandate have been inconsistent in their support, particularly when it comes to arrests.
- The ICC is an independent international organisation, and is not part of the United Nations system.
- Although the Court’s expenses are funded primarily by States Parties, it also receives voluntary contributions from governments, international organisations, individuals, corporations and other entities.
- The Court’s management oversight and legislative body, the Assembly of States Parties, consists of one representative from each state party. Each state party has one vote and “every effort” has to be made to reach decisions by consensus. If consensus cannot be reached, decisions are made by vote.
- The Assembly is presided over by a president and two vice-presidents, who are elected by the members to three-year terms.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki, ICC.