Palestine to Join International Criminal Court – UN Secretary General
United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon announced that Palestine will join the International Criminal Court (ICC) on April 1.
This will provide Palestine with the opportunity to file war-crimes suits against Israel, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Ban Ki Moon said he received the signed treaty that had been submitted by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday, formalising his signature to join the ICC.
The UN Secretary General is the official depositary of the treaty and the UN office of legal affairs reviewed the document after it had been submitted by Palestine on Friday.
The treaty provides for a grace period after it has been deposited with the UN Secretary General, following which Palestine can file lawsuits against Israel starting on April 1.
There has been no official reaction from Israel so far.
Last week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the UN to reject Palestine's request on the grounds that legally Palestinians do not have a state.
However there is no application process and the UN legal office will make only a technical review to establish whether the documents are in order, after which Ban Ki-moon will inform the 122 members of the ICC that Palestine has joined.
Following the granting of nonmember observer status in the UN General Assembly in 2012, Palestine received the right to join the ICC.
Palestine has made use of its nonmember UN observer status and joined several international treaties and conventions last year.
Palestine acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Law of the Sea on Friday, the Wall Street Journal reminds.
This gives Palestine legal control of 12 nautical miles from the Gaza coast, which could have implications for Israel's naval blockade and offshore gas deposits.
Israel can prevent the ICC from intervening by conducting war-crimes trials against its own citizens.
Although Israel is not a member of the ICC, its citizens are subject to the court for alleged crimes committed on a member's territory.
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