Yesterday evening, minutes before the beginning of Shabbat in Israel, the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled on the question of jurisdiction in the so-called "Situation in Palestine"
The Court decided to accept the ICC Prosecutor’s position on Jurisdiction and confirmed that Palestine is a State Party to the Statute; that Palestine qualifies as ‘[t]he State on the territory of which the conduct in question occurred’ for the purposes of article 12 (2) (a) of the Statute; and the Court’s territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in Palestine extends to the territories “occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem”.
It is deeply troubling to see that the Court became a tool for advancing Palestinian interests even after seven States Parties and world-renowned experts argued against the Court’s jurisdiction in this case. The ICC not only ignored accepted principles of international law, but failed its mandate to preserve human rights and international criminal justice. Eventually, this politicised decision will not advance Israeli-Palestinian peace but harden the fronts between the two sides. You can find the ruling at the bottom of this article.
Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu's Statement
“Today the ICC proved once again that it is a political body and not a judicial institution. The ICC ignores the real war crimes and instead pursues the State of Israel, a state with a strong democracy that sanctifies the rule of law, and is not a member of the ICC. In this decision, the ICC violated the right of democracies to defend themselves against terrorism, and played into the hands of those who undermine efforts to expand the circle of peace. We will continue to protect our citizens and soldiers in every way from legal persecution.”
Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi's Statement
“Today’s decision by the ICC distorts international law and turns this institution into a political tool of anti-Israel propaganda. The ICC has no jurisdiction to deliberate the Palestinian case. The State of Israel is a robust democracy with an independent and effective legal system that is deeply respected all over the world. The judges’ decision rewards Palestinian terrorism, as well as the refusal of the Palestinian Authority to return to direct negotiations with Israel, and will further polarize both sides. We call on all countries that value the international legal system, and object to its political exploitation, to respect the sovereign rights of states and to choose not to consent to the Court’s jurisdiction. The State of Israel will take every necessary measure to protect its citizens.”