The UN has accepted a bid by the state of Palestine to join the International Criminal Court. This will allow the court to open up cases on crimes committed in the Palestinian territories as of April 1.
A request by the state of Palestine to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been accepted by the United Nations, UN spokesman Stephanie Dujarric said on Wednesday.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon had been quoted by the Associated Press and DPA news agencies late Tuesday as saying that the the authority would join the International Criminal Court on April 1.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed documents applying to join the ICC in late December following a failed bid at the United Nations Security Council to set a timeline for setting up a Palestinian state on lands occupied by Israel.
The long-signaled move, part of a broader Palestinian strategy to achieve statehood, has been condemned by both Israel and the United States as an obstacle to reaching a permanent peace agreement.
The ICC was established to prosecute individuals who perpetrate war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
While joining the court would give Palestinians the ability to pursue war crimes charges against Israelis, an ICC investigation could also possibly lead to war crimes charges against Palestinians.
se,sb/rc (AP, dpa, AFP)