THE HAGUE, Tuesday, June 9, 2020 (WAFA) – Palestine’s decision to absolve itself of the agreements with Israel does not have a bearing on the exercise of the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s jurisdiction in the situation of Palestine.
This came in the response of the ICC Prosecution to Palestine’s response to the Pre-Trial Chamber’s Order requesting additional information regarding the decision to absolve itself of the agreements with Israel following the latter’s decision to annex a large part of the occupied West Bank.
“The Prosecution does not consider that the Statement (Palestine’s response) has a bearing on the status of Palestine as a State Party to the Rome Statute and on the exercise of the Court’s jurisdiction in the situation in Palestine. The Prosecution has already explained its understanding of the Oslo Accords and its position that the Oslo Accords do not bar the exercise of the Court’s jurisdiction in Palestine. The Prosecution’s position remains the same,” the ICC said in the response.
“Further, the Prosecution has noted, with concern, Israel’s declared intention to imminently annex parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Prosecution recalls that, as stated in its Request, ‘any unilateral annexation by the Occupying Power of an occupied territory—in whole or in part—has no legal validity and the law of occupation continues to apply’.”
As a result, the ICC Prosecution said it “reiterates its requests that Pre-Trial Chamber I expeditiously rule on the scope of the Court’s territorial jurisdiction in the situation of Palestine and confirm that the ‘territory’ over which the Court may exercise its jurisdiction under article 12(2)(a) comprises the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.”
Reacting to the ICC response, Palestine’s Foreign Minister Riyad Malki considered it consistent with international law and its principles.
“The response is an important and clear legal response,” he said, calling on the First Pre-Trial Chamber to expedite issuing the decision on the geographical jurisdiction of the ICC on the occupied Palestinian territory in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, in order to begin criminal investigation into the situation of Palestinian.
“The State of Palestine will continue to cooperate with institutions of international law, including the ICC, to fight crimes and to hold accountable perpetrators of serious crimes against the Palestinian people in order to achieve justice,” said Malki.