1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Palestinians lodge ICC application

January 2, 2015

Papers seeking Palestinian membership of the International Criminal Court (ICC) have been formally submitted at the United Nations. The move is strongly opposed by Israel and the United States.

Riyad Mansour
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Evan Schneider/United Nations

Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour (pictured above) delivered documents to the UN's legal affairs Assistant Secretary General Stephen Mathias on Friday seeking court membership.

The bid, which could open the way for the Palestinians to sue Israeli officials over alleged war crimes, followed Tuesday's UN Security Council rejection of a resolution seeking a deadline for Israel to end its occupations of Palestinian areas.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had signed the documents on Wednesday.

Mansour cited a 60-day waiting period that could result in Palestinian ICC membership and described the initiative as a "very significant step" for the Palestinians.

Neither Israel nor the United States belongs to the ICC, which has 122 members.

The documentation submitted by Mansour applies to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and more than a dozen other international treaties.

Israel Benjamin Netanjahu Porträt 21. Dez. 2014
Netanyahu opposes the Palestinian membership bidImage: Reuters/A.Cohen

Netanyahu objects

Voicing strong Israeli objection to a Palestinian ICC membership on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Palestinian Authority (PA) did not rank as a state but was an "entity linked to a terrorist organization."

He was referring to the Islamist movement Hamas, the de facto ruler of the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Authority, which has its headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, had its UN rank upgraded from observer entity to an observer state in 2012 in one of several diplomatic moves made by Abbas.

Retroactive judgements sought

Mansour said on Friday he would next request retroactive jurisdiction "with regard to the crimes committed during the last war in Gaza."

He was referring to Israel's 50-day war against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip last July and August when more than 2,100 Palestinians, 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel were killed.

Last month, the existing members of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, decided to allow the Palestinians to participate in their meeting at UN headquarters as an observer state.

Rocks thrown during US West Bank visit

A visit to the West Bank by American consular officials on Friday ended in Jewish settlers throwing rocks at the US delegation, according to Israeli police.

The officials had come to investigate Palestinian claims that settlers had uprooted scores of Palestinian olive trees on Thursday.

A police spokeswoman said the incident occurred near the unauthorized settlement of Adei Ad, close to the Palestinian village of Turmus Ayya, which lies northeast of Ramallah.

"There was no damage and the convoy continued on its route," the spokeswoman said.

Friday's incident took place in the same sector where a senior Palestinian official, Ziad Abu Ein, died on December 10 during clashes with the Israeli army.

The United States is by far Israel's most important foreign ally, providing the country with some $3 billion (2.48 billion euros) in annual aid.

ipj/nm (Reuters, AP, AFP)