ICC Recognizes Jurisdiction over Palestinian Territories

The Hague, MINA -The judges of the International Criminal Court issued a decision on Friday, stated that the Hague-based court has jurisdiction over the Palestinian territories, paving the way for an investigation of war crimes there.

The First Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court issued its decision regarding the request of Attorney General Fatou Bensouda regarding territorial jurisdiction over Palestine.

Palestine is a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court,. Thus as quoted from Wafa.

Pre-Trial Chamber I stated in the text of its decision that the ICC is not constitutionally competent to rule on state matters in a manner binding on the international community.

The circuit added that its judgment on the territorial scope of its jurisdiction does not mean settling a border dispute under international law or any future borders, but rather that the sole purpose of the decision is to determine the regional jurisdiction of the court.

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Pre-Trial Chamber I considered the Prosecutor’s request as well as submissions from other states, organizations and scholars who participated as friends of the court or victims.

The Chamber considered that, according to its statute, the phrase “the state in whose territory the relevant conduct took place” in Article 12 (2) (a) of the Statute necessarily referred to a state party to the Rome Statute .

The department said that regardless of Palestine’s status under general international law, its accession to the Basic Law was properly and systematically, and that the department had no authority to appeal or review the results of the accession procedures conducted by the Assembly of States Parties.

The Chamber affirmed that Palestine has agreed by virtue to submit itself to the terms of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and that it has the right to be treated like any other state party in matters related to the implementation of the Statute.

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Pre-Trial Chamber I added that Resolution 67/19 of the United Nations General Assembly and other related resolutions “reaffirmed the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and independence on the territories of the State of Palestine occupied since 1967”.

On this basis, the majority, composed of Judge Reign Adelaide, Sophie Albini Gansu, and Judge Marc Perrin de Breschampo, found that the court’s territorial jurisdiction in the situation in Palestine extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem .

In addition, the Chamber majority found that the arguments related to the Oslo Accords, and their clauses that limit the scope of Palestinian jurisdiction, are not relevant to the determination of the issue of the court’s territorial jurisdiction over Palestine. They said that these and other matters of jurisdiction could be considered when the public prosecutor submits a request to issue an arrest warrant for persons or summon them to appear.

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While the presiding judge, Judge Peter Kovacs, appended a partially dissenting opinion, as he did not agree that the phrase “the state on whose territory the relevant conduct took place” in Article 12 (2) (a) of the Statute applied to Palestine, and that the court’s territorial jurisdiction in the case In Palestine, it extends in a semi-automatic and without any restrictions to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. (T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)