International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Palestinians Formally Join ICC

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Palestine has been able to formally join the ICC as the 123rd member after their signing on and ratification to the Rome Statute in January. Their main intention is for justice against Israelis starting from June 13th 2014 in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. The longstanding controversies between the two groups have caused many criminal justice atrocities including the death of over 2200 people. Yet one of the issues is the timing of the ICC, which has been known to provide justice, but in a very slow and methodical manner. While the Palestinian people are currently excited and ready for their justice to come, the process that may take years may frustrate them and diminish their current momentum.

Though Israel is not part of the ICC, the atrocities committed on Palestinian soil are up for examination as a potential war crimes. Though on the surface this may be perceived as victors justice, Palestine is also being examined for their own persecutions of Israelis, therefore both parties are eligible for convictions by the ICC. Additionally, the United States is criticizing the ICC for allowing Palestine to join, as they are not a sovereign state yet this is an important step for Palestine to seek statehood.

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3 responses to “Palestinians Formally Join ICC

  1. samdawg94 April 3, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    It is fascinating to me that the Palestinians willingly joined the ICC recently. They must know that they have committed atrocities, and those crimes will most likely be examined. Although it seems, logically, that Palestine is putting themselves at risk by joining the ICC, the article cited in the original post claims that they are actually undermining international justice and joining for self-serving reasons, namely to gain statehood. Furthermore, they want the ICC to investigate crimes committed by Israelis during the 50-day summer war in the Gaza Strip, where hundreds of Palestinian civilians were killed. Palestinians also say that they hope joining the ICC will deter Israel from committing violent crimes against them, and hold them more accountable.

    Israel and the United States are extremely skeptical of the Palestinians’ motives, as mentioned in the original post. The Israeli Foreign Ministry even calls it a “political, hypocritical, and cynical maneuver.” It seems the Palestinians may be joining in order to undermine or have some control in the system, which reminds me of the Kenya case in which the two leaders appeared to cooperate with the ICC in order to gain more leverage and immunity. I think it is difficult to decipher the exact motives behind the Palestinians’ decision to join the ICC, and only time will tell how their membership will ultimately affect them and Israel.

  2. mtidona April 5, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    It is hard to tell what is the truth in this story since all involved actors have clear personal stakes and interests in the matter of Palestine joining the ICC. This makes it difficult to decipher the true motives behind Palestine’s joining and Israel and the United States’ skepticism since it is hard to look past the countries own self-interests. Is Palestine actually joining for justice? Or is their real motive vengeance against Israelis? Is the justice motive just a disguise and in reality their joining is just a ploy for a step in the direction of statehood? I suppose as time goes on the answers to these questions will be slowly revealed. According to the article, even though Israel has not ratified the Rome Statute, “its military and civilian leaders could face charges if they are believed to have committed crimes on Palestinian territory.” However, the ICC will make an effort to avoid one-sided prosecutions since “Palestinian militants will also be open to prosecution.” Hopefully the ICC will be able to stay true to this and successfully avoid one-sided prosecutions, which can help the ICC remain neutral and uphold its legitimacy. Also, hopefully an effort to hold all actors accountable can help the ICC sort through the cloudy air and find some truth in the motives and actions of all the actors involved and answer some of the questions posed above. The US opposed Palestine joining the ICC stating “that it did not believe Palestine was a sovereign state and therefore should not qualify to join.” It will be interesting to see what effect and to what extent Palestine’s joining of the ICC will have on its status of statehood. As this effect is realized, it may also shed some light on the true motives behind Palestine’s recent enthusiasm to join the ICC. Is the motive truly justice or a ploy for statehood on Palestine’s behalf?

  3. CRuj April 5, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    Palestine joining the ICC, in my opinion, was a political move. Their motive is to gain justice against Israel for the (possible) war crimes committed. Since both parties are being inspected for atrocities committed, it is interesting that Palestine was able and willing to join the ICC. This move can only be understood to be a political move that can help Palestine gain statehood, as it is not currently a sovereign state. This bold tactic undermines the ICC because Palestine knowing joined with knowledge that they will be under investigation. It undermines the court and enhances Palestine’s chances of gaining statehood.

    It seems that the conflict between Israel, which is not apart of the ICC, is a motivation. This move makes Israel more accountable for its crimes against Palestine and can discourage future crimes. Israel, which is not an ICC member, has opposed the Palestinians’ efforts to join the body. The US, Canada, and Israel strongly believe “’that the Palestinians are not eligible to join the ICC and the court does not have jurisdiction in this instance, first and foremost, because there is no Palestinian State in international law,’ Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday (CNN).”

    Israel feels that the decision of Palestine to join the ICC was to quicken the process against Israel. So what does this mean for Israel? The Palestinians intend to formally lodge two cases with the court on or after April 1, 2015 (Telegraph). One case will deal with Israel’s settlement construction, which is illegal under international law. The second case will inspect Israel’s behavior in the Gaza conflict, which they have began an ad hoc investigation for.

    Now the key issue that needs to be resolved is investigators need to resolve issues before they can make any progress in any court action. This includes outline the geographical boundaries of Palestine and “deciding on how far back in time the ICC can go in its investigations, even if the Palestinians only began their accession to the treaty in 2015 (Telegraph).” So what does this mean for the ICC? What does this mean for the potential crimes committed by both Israel and Palestine? Will Palestine gain statehood? Only time will tell.

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/01/middleeast/palestinians-icc-membership/

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/palestinianauthority/11505741/Palestinian-Authority-to-formally-join-ICC-but-what-will-it-mean-for-Israel-and-PA.html

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