martes, 9 de diciembre de 2014


Palestine obstained the status of Observer at the meeting of the Assembly of the State Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which takes place at the United Nations headquarters in New York from December 8 to 17 (see official document). This decision has been taken without any objection from the 122 delegations, as reported by Haartez (see note).

In April 2012, Prosecutor Office of ICC rejected the possibility to investigate the situation in Palestine due to the fact that Palestine was not recognized as a State by the General Assembly of the United Nations (see note of April 2012 in French y en English). Once obtained the status of "Observer Non Member State" by General Assembly of United Nations in November 2012, (Note 1), Prosecutor Office of ICC in August 2014 explained that a formal acceptation of Palestine of its jurisdiction was required (see note of press release in French and in English ).

As well known, international criminal law is a chapter of international law extremely sensitive for Israel and for United States. The recognition by Palestine of ICC jurisdiction in february 2009 was qualified by Legal Department of Israel Army as a new kind of terrorism: "legal terrorism" (Note 2). A confidential cable of US Embassy in Tel-Aviv of Feb. 23, 2010 (see text) made public by Wikileaks in 2011 described Israel fear of ICC in the following terms: "Libman noted that the ICC was the most dangerous issue for Israel and wondered whether the U.S. could simply state publicly its position that the ICC has no jurisdiction over Israel regarding the Gaza operation”. Less confidential, in a recent article entitled: “US is ‘absolutely adamant’ that Palestine not go to ICC and wreck the peace process — Power) we read that for US ambassador Power at UN : “The ICC is of course something that we have been absolutely adamant about. Secretary Kerry has made it very, very clear to the Palestinians, as has the President. I mean, this is something that really poses a profound threat to Israel”. We kindly ask to our readers to send us some information in case they have previously known or heard of any public statement made by a State representative indicating that ICC represent a "profound threat" for its ally.

Prominent international lawyers published in February 2010 an open collective letter where they considered that, legally speaking, ICC had jurisdiction on the situation in Palestine and that Prosecutor Office was in position to initiate an investigation on possible grave violations of humanitarian law and human rights committed by both sides (see text in French).

Note 1: See our brief note published in La Celosia (in Spanish), available here. A longer French version was published in Sentinelle Weekly Report, January 2013, available here.

Note 2: See FERNANDEZ J., La politique juridique extérieure des Etats- Unis à l´égard de la Cour Pénale Internationale, Paris, Pedone, 2010, p. 325. Declarations of US Delegate at the Rome Conference in 1998 after the colsure of the Rome COnference are quite usefull to understand US position: « En ce qui concerne Israël enfin, David Scheffer reconnut après Rome que la délégation américaine avait endossé la crainte d´Israël d´être victime d´accusations devant la future Cour en raison de sa politique dans les territoires occupés » (p. 172).

A larger version of this note has been edited in Spanish on December 10, 2014 on Alainet web site.

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