ICC prosecutor: Palestine can join the Rome Statute

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — “Palestine” is now eligible to join the Rome Statute and file war crimes charges against Israel, the International Criminal Court prosecutor said.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Aug. 29 wrote an Op-Ed in the British newspaper The Guardian to answer charges that the ICC has avoided opening an investigation into alleged war crimes in Gaza due to political pressure.


The Palesitnian Authority sought to join the court in May 2009. After three years of research and analysis, the ICC Prosecutor’s Office determined in April 2012 that since Palestine was an “observer entity,” it could not sign on to the Rome Statute.

Several months later, in November 2012, Palestine’s status was upgraded in the United Nations to non-member observer state,” which gives it legitimacy to join the Rome Statute, Bensouda told the Guardian.

Membership in the ICC would grant Palestine the right to file war crimes against Israel and Israeli figures with the court.

“I have made it clear in no uncertain terms that the office of the prosecutor will execute its mandate, without fear or favor, where jurisdiction is established and will vigorously pursue those – irrespective of status or affiliation – who commit mass crimes that shock the conscience of humanity. My office’s approach to Palestine will be no different if the court’s jurisdiction is ever triggered over the situation,” Bensouda wrote.