Palestine’s ICC Membership is a Vital Step to Accountability and Peace
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) welcomes Palestine’s accession to the Rome Statute and to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and strongly condemns the punitive measures against the Palestinian Authority for exercising the right to self-determination.
On 31 December 2014, the State of Palestine submitted its application to join the ICC followed by a declaration under Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute on 2 January 2015. In so doing, Palestine has formally recognised the Court’s jurisdiction since 13 June 2014.
In response to this legitimate decision, Israel has decided to illegally withhold over 106 million euros in tax revenues that it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. This measure violates international humanitarian law, including by constituting a form of collective punishment and contravenes the 1994 Paris Protocol. Israel has threatened further punitive measures, including applying pressure on the US Congress to suspend its aid to the Palestinian Authority.
“As illustrated yet again following the last war in Gaza, Israel remains unwilling to credibly investigate or prosecute perpetrators of war crimes under its domestic judicial system.’’ Says Michel Tubiana, EMHRN President. “Palestine’s accession to the ICC is a vital step to ending impunity for crimes on both sides.”
Palestine’s accession to the Rome Statute and to the ICC can act as a deterrent to future crimes and break the vicious circle of violence and impunity plaguing the region. As such, this decision is in line with the EU’s core objective of achieving peace through a two-state solution and with its stoutly defended principle that sustainable peace is only possible if grounded upon respect for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.
In light of this and in line with the EU’s Council Decision on the ICC from 2011, EMHRN calls on the EU and its Member States to play a constructive role in promoting the universality of the Rome Statute and to condemn all punitive measures taken against Palestine for exercising this right.