Palestine Can Now Join the International Criminal Court 161


Palestine is now a state. Membership of the United Nations is not in international law a pre-condition of statehood, and indeed is not compulsory for states. The existence of states not members of the UN is recognised in international law, not least by the UN itself. Palestine has just joined UNESCO for example under a provision which allows states which are not members of the United Nations to join if they get qualified majority support – which Palestine overwhelmingly did.

So the UNESCO membership is crucial recognition of Palestine’s statehood, not an empty gesture. With this evidence of international acceptance, there is now absolutely no reason why Palestine cannot, instantly and without a vote, join the International Criminal Court. Palestine can now become a member of the International Criminal Court simply by submitting an instrument of accession to the Statute of Rome, and joining the list of states parties.

As both the USA and Israel refuse to join the ICC because of their desire to commit war crimes with impunity, acceding to the statute of Rome would not only confirm absolutely that Palestine is a state, it would reinforce the fact that Palestine is a better international citizen with more moral legitimacy than Israel.

There is an extremely crucial point here: if Palestine accedes to the Statute of Rome, under Article 12 of the Statute of Rome, the International Criminal Court would have jurisdiction over Israelis committing war crimes on Palestinian soil. Other states parties – including the UK – would be obliged by law to hand over indicted Israeli war criminals to the court at the Hague. This would be a massive blow to the Israeli propaganda and lobbying machine.

It would also be a huge chance for the International Criminal Court to redeem its reputation. It is widely believed, particularly in Africa, that the ICC is merely a tool of western domination and used against those that the NATO powers want it used against. That is a bit unfair on the court, who are dealing with the cases brought before them according to the statutes. Palestinian membership could give a chance for the court to assert its independence, and become a watershed for both Palestine and the ICC.


161 thoughts on “Palestine Can Now Join the International Criminal Court

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  • Stephen

    @Mark
    I would have thought claiming that your views belonged to the 99% might also be seen as being a tad arrogant. It certainly didn’t help your argument.

  • Stephen

    Mark

    You were clearly respnding to my statement not my questioning of Craig’s statement. Craig’s statement was about the relative legitimacy of Israel and Palestine to statehood – which you do not address.

    So you take a statement of my views as a basis for question which you then seek to provide an answer (a straw man technique if ever I saw one) and then don’t want to address the question raised in response – and you call me arrogant to boot!

  • Sarah

    Komodo
    Are you actually referring to Israel with this statement:
    ” If they announced that ethnic cleansing is the name of their game, even the Yanks would start looking at them sideways.”
    Unfortunately, there are factions on both sides that would like to see ‘ethnic cleansing’. The difference is that it is a small faction in Israel and the core political aim for the majority of the Arab people leaving in that region.

  • Stephen

    Mike W and Sarah

    A genuine question. What tenable steps do you think the Palestinian leadership could take to change attitudes within Israel so that they start to push their politicians towards a negotiated settlement?

  • John Goss

    Thank you for that explanation, Craig. I did not know that the US and Israel were not members of the ICC and I was under the impression that the court was a tool of NATO, which it clearly is not.
    .
    This augurs well for Palestine’s future. Furthermore, while I have no particular support for Saif al Islam Gaddafi I think that he might get a fair trial if he can get a safe passage to ICC. My suspicion is he will not get a safe passage because of the interests of those non member states who are not members “because of their desire to commit war crimes with impunity.”

  • ingo

    The first step has been taken, the recongition as a state, as acknowledged by Israel in the Oslo agreement, moreover, how can it be ‘dead’, when the braking of the laws of the seas, more than once, did not devalue or scrap this international statuted agreement?

    The next step, returning to the negotiations table, can only be done by consensual agreement of both sides, For that to happen, Israel has to let Marwan Barghouti go free.

  • Sive

    It is interesting that most Arab states did not sign the Rome Statute, except for (I think) Jordan and Tunisia. This is no coincidence and may tell us something about other possible issues that the PLO needs to keep in mind. For example, if they sign the Statute they might find themselvs on trial for crimes against their own people (which is why Arab countries do not sign the Statute). But, I like your attempt to portray the Palestinians as a developing democracy. It’s really optimistic 🙂

  • Komodo

    Hasbara, Sarah? Megaphone? Substantiate your statements. I can:
    .
    Breaking:
    .
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/8863542/Israel-punishes-Palestinians-for-Unesco-move.html
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    Bibi’s shot himself in the foot big time now. Sheer bloody spite, and with his accelerated development of ILLEGAL settlements, a clear signal even to the indifferent that his government has no intention whatever of facilitating a Palestinian state of any kind.
    .
    Prediction: Abbas will pull out in disgust, the PA will fall apart (its useful idiocy having ceased) and the resulting chaos will be used by Israel as an *excuse* for further mass murder.

  • Komodo

    “….It’s really optimistic 🙂 ”

    Certainly is, sport. Unrealistically so. When the party they vote for is proscribed and shot at, while the people they voted out are embraced as the enforcers of an apartheid state. Still, I think that’s nearly over now, and no Palestinian organisation will be permitted by the occupiers to move in the direction of self-determination. Ever.

  • wendy

    “Stephen Dorril, in his superb tome on MI6 (SIS), claims that Mandela was an MI6 agent from early on.”
    .
    .
    so this is the reason thatcher gave her wholehearted support to mandela and the anc ..

  • wendy

    “What tenable steps do you think the Palestinian leadership could take to change attitudes within Israel so that they start to push their politicians towards a negotiated settlement?”
    .
    .
    buy up shares in the US / UK pro zionist politicians ..

  • John Goss

    One thing we should never lose sight of is that there are many Israelis in Israel and abroad that do not share their government’s views and that we should campaign alongside these to bring peace and integration to the Holy Land. Likewise there are Palestinians for whom violence is the only choice. These we should condemn absolutely. I’ve just come across an Israeli peace group based in the US and from their site I quote:
    .
    “But it is simply false to say that history shows that Jews and Arabs cannot live together. They have before, and, in a modern, secular state, may well be able to do so on a much more equal footing than existed in the past.”
    .
    I’m sure Craig shares this view. Me too. Take a look at this site. It may change your opinions about ordinary Jewish people and their hopes. They are not all Zionist supremacists.
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    http://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/content/israeli-palestinian-conflict-101

  • Mike W.

    Sorry to put a damper on things, John Goss, but it’s not the Israelis who need convincing that peace is better than war. There really is a clash of civilisations between the Arabs and the Israelis. If Libya or Iraq didn’t convince you, what will??

  • John Goss

    Mike W. That is exactly what you are trying to do – put a damper on things. What is wrong with cooperation? And anyway, Libya and Iraq conflicts were about NATO greed for oil, and had nothing whatsoever to do with your interpretation.

  • pabelmont

    If Palestine is restricted — in bringing claims to the ICC — to violations which occur in its own territory, then this raises the very interesting question as to what, in fact, is Palestine’s own territory (a question which might be asked with equal vigor about Israel). I assume Palestine will claim the territory outside the so-called green-line of 1948-1967. What Israel would claim is anyone’s guess. For example, if Gazans shot a rocket from Gaza which struck a “civilian” settlement in East Jerusalem, could Israel go to ICC with a claim that [other than as overflight] the rocket was shot into Israeli territory?

  • mary

    Sunday BBC Radio 4 is offering The State of Israel
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b016w0n7
    .
    Introduction.
    .
    “Israel suddenly finds itself lonely in an uncertain world. The Arab Spring has meant it has lost Egypt, a key ally. Turmoil in Syria threatens the stability of an enemy who was at least a known quantity. Inept handling has destroyed the friendship with Turkey. And Iran remains an active threat. Now the Palestinians are nominally united and rivalling Israel in international diplomacy with their quest for statehood.”
    .
    Ah diddums. Just learn to live with your neighbours without menacing them and stop oppressing the Palestinians.
    .
    You would think that ZBC could have chosen a disinterested presenter who a) was not Jewish and b) had not been responsible for relaying the Israeli propaganda previously.

  • Mike W.

    Are you applying for the presenter’s job, ‘Mary’? – Oh no, of course not. You’re not exactly what one would call ‘disinterested’ or unpartisan..

    Your comment that Jewish presenters couldn’t be objective shows : (1) your bias,
    (2) your ignorance, (3) your racism.

  • glenn

    Yet again, Israel responds by showing its “restraint” and gives due consideration and respect to international opinion, justice, peace and…
    .
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/01/israel-settlement-growth-unesco-vote-palestinians
    .
    In other words, they don’t give a rat’s arse, stick two fingers up and make more settlements as punishment. As long as they can run underneath Amerika’s coattails for protection, of course.
    .
    Mike W – not wishing to speak for Mary, but why shouldn’t someone be biased in favour of a hideously grieved people progressively robbed of their nation? What’s ignorant about presenting fact? And why are you so racist towards Arabs – or don’t they count as people to Zionist apologists such as yourself?

  • OldMark

    ‘but it’s not the Israelis who need convincing that peace is better than war.’

    Hmm…so successive Israeli governments welcomed the peace initiative tabled by the Arab League, in 2002 & again in 2007 ? As I recall the proposals were contemptuously dismissed by Israel on each occasion, and the Americans, usually so assertive in their promotion of the ‘Peace Process’, stood back and let their no 2 ally in the region (the House of Saud)suffer humiliation as a result.

    Bibi’s announcement today of accelerated settlement building is yet another example of the Israelis showing the world who really wears the trousers in that part of the world.

  • mark_golding

    John Goss – I have no idea as I have no idea why Obama received the prize. It was Carter who brokered the Israel/Egypt peace treaty and American dollars in aid was flooded to Egypt to keep Sadat and his followers sweet. Arms and aid to the tune of $58 billion is one hell of a comforter. Anwar Sadat shared the award much to the disgust of the Arab League and the majority of Egyptians. According to my information from a reliable source, Sadat was assassinated as the result of a secret plot between Mubarak and Israeli intelligence. Mubarak’s henchman, General Fouad Allam, head of Egypt’s security service, waged a terror campaign against radical Islam that featured unlawful arrests, detention without trial, and torture to force confessions.

  • Quelcrime

    http://www.icc-cpi.int/menus/icc/structure%20of%20the%20court/office%20of%20the%20prosecutor/comm%20and%20ref/palestine/palestine?lan=en-GB

    On 3 May [2010], the OTP published a “Summary of submissions on whether the declaration lodged by the Palestinian National Authority meets statutory requirements.” The OTP has not made any determination on the issue.

    They’ll stretch it out longer than the decision on whether to prosecute the copper who bumped off Ian Tomlinson.

  • Quelcrime

    Palestinian membership could give a chance for the court to assert its independence
    .
    I guess this is an attempt at brilliant naivete?
    .
    I read that the planes which bombed the civilian TV facilities in Tripoli were Danish. Denmark is a State Party to the ICC and therefore its personnel are subject to the court’s jurisdiction. The prosecutor is allowed to begin investigations on his own if he chooses. Although there was some language in UNSCR1973 about no comeback for people enforcing it, bombing TV studios was not authorised by the resolution and can’t be covered by its protections.
    .
    Why not write a post saying ‘the Danish bombing of the TV studios could give a chance for the court to assert its independence’?
    .
    How many chances does the court need?

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Egypt, surrounded by the sweet blossom of the ‘Arab Spring’ is emerging from decades of autocratic rule under President Mubarak. Egyptians bless them have responded by anti-Israeli sentiments on the street that will soon abrogate the Camp David peace treaty after what, three decades. Bravo!
    .
    Through the power of intention I believe the Palestinians’ quest for state recognition at the United Nations, despite American veto, will come to pass by world recognition of a substantial majority. I believe this may mean Israel lands up in the International Criminal Court. This in turn will fuel deeper resentment of the United States government by it’s people in their awakening. It will also kick off a new convulsion of violence in the West Bank and Gaza that will intensify world condemnation and force Israel into a dangerous corner.

  • mary

    John and Glenn I appreciate your comments. I stand by what I said. Last week when 9 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, the usual Israel friendly report appeared on the BBC website where the word ‘militant’ was used to describe the Palestinians 11 times in a report of just a couple of hundred words. Israelis have soldiers. Palestinians have militants. We read ‘Israel says’ but one never the phrase ‘Palestine says’.
    .
    I do not intend to enter into one of those ‘flame’ encounters with Mike W here. There is little point from past experience and I am sure that Craig does not want his bandwidth used in this way. Dissident Voice shut down their comments facility mainly for that reason. The trolls work to squash all comment critical of Israel.
    .
    I read that Palestine intends to join more UN organisations which is good news.
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/with-unesco-membership-granted-palestinians-seek-to-join-16-more-un-agencies-1.393134

    .
    and elsewhere that there is a likelihood of Israel allowing an IAEA inspection of their nuclear facilities for the first time ever since Damona was built. Their arsenal of nuclear weapons is very large by all accounts.
    .
    ‘Israel is extending its Jericho III missile’s range, and is developing an ICBM capability, expanding its nuclear-tipped cruise missile enabled submarine fleet’. (from a report on the proliferation of nuclear weapons which was written by Rifkind and others for an American outfit called BASIC – British American Security Information Council).

    The Guardian carried the report {http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/30/nuclear-powers-weapons-spending-report} yesterday written by Norton Taylor who is on the RUSI board incidentally.
    .
    Yet simultaneously the USUKIsNATO axis is accusing Syria of building a nuclear facility in the same way that they accuse Iran. You get the picture.
    {http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/01/syria-nuclear-arms-site-revealed}

  • mary

    94 years ago today the shameful Balfour Declaration was signed.
    .

    The Balfour Declaration of 1917 (dated 2 November 1917) was a letter from the British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron Rothschild (Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild), a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland.
    .
    His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
    .
    The statement was issued through the efforts of Chaim Weizmann and Nahum Sokolow, the principal Zionist leaders based in London; as they had asked for the reconstitution of Palestine as “the” Jewish national home, the declaration fell short of Zionist expectations”. The Balfour Declaration was later incorporated into the Sèvres peace treaty with Turkey and the Mandate for Palestine. The original document is kept at the British Library.
    .
    Text of the declaration
    .
    The declaration, a typed letter signed in ink by Balfour, reads as follows:
    .
    Foreign Office,
    November 2nd, 1917.
    .
    Dear Lord Rothschild,
    I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet:
    “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country”.
    I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
    .
    Yours sincerely
    Arthur James Balfour
    .

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balfour_Declaration_of_1917

  • John Goss

    Good Israelis, bad Israelis. I think we need to be aware that a good number of Israelis are opposed to the actions of their government, as a good number of people are opposed to their governments in the UK and US. The previous link I dropped down shows that half the States in the US have well-organised chapters affiliated to Jewish Voice for Peace. However the Israeli government, and its dirty brigade, MOSSAD, have much to answer for in world affairs.
    .
    Mary mentions that ‘there is a likelihood of Israel allowing an IAEA inspection of their nuclear facilities for the first time ever since Damona was built. Their arsenal of nuclear weapons is very large by all accounts.’ There was a time when Israel denied having nuclear weapons and a brave man exposed their nuclear capability. Vanunu was picked up by the filth, there is no more fitting epithet to describe these secret services, and imprisoned for this honest act in exposing Israel’s dishonesty.
    .
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mordechai_Vanunu
    .
    So who tells the truth and who tells the lies? Vanunu tells the truth and the secret services, with full complicity of the Israeli government, arrest and imprison him for exposing their lies. Likewise Dr David Kelly tells the truth about Iraq not having weapons of mass destruction against the lies our government present and our secret services kill him for it.

  • craig Post author

    Quelcrime,

    There appears no current chance that the Court will independently instigate investigations into war crimes authorised by the governments of states parties who are members of NATO. But when a complaint is lodged by a stste party, that is a completely different thing and the Court is obliged to act. Palestine would be a state party. It would not be complaining against a member of NATO. The European states who dominate the court’s composition may all want to protect the Danish pilot you cite; it is by no means certain it is a priority for them to protect Israel.

  • Komodo

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israel-warns-west-window-of-opportunity-to-thwart-iran-nuclear-program-is-closing-1.393036
    .
    Wondered why the apologists were coming out of the woodwork: it’s time for some more demonisation.
    .
    This one’s for you, Mary. Our old PNAC friend Ledeen agitating the excrement as usual:
    .
    http://pjmedia.com/blog/author/michaelledeen/
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    And in view of the shock-horror felt by all rightthinking people at the Palestinians firing rockets at Israel, nice to see the Israelis taking a leaf out of the Hamas book and upgrading their own rockets, to fire at Iran, presumably. Or maybe London, with the reported range….

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/report-israel-seeking-to-upgrade-its-nuclear-weapons-capabilities-1.392957

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