The State of Palestine, as a party to the Rome Statute, has signed a referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The referral should cover all the Israeli crimes and violations committed or to be committed against the people of Palestine, in the past, present and future, said the Higher National Committee responsible for following up with the International Criminal Court
According to the committee, the referral will cover crimes associated with the Israeli colonial settlement regime in the Occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem.
On Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at 10 am, Hague time (11 am Palestine Time), a meeting will take place between the Foreign Minister of the State of Palestine and Expatriates, Dr. Riad Malki, and the Prosecutor Ms. Fatou Bensouda.
Malki will hand in the referral to the prosecutor and will call upon the court to assume its responsibility and duties towards bringing Justice to the Palestinian people and hold Israel, the occupying power, accountable for its continuous crimes and violations.
PNN further reports that a press conference will be held by Minister Malki, on the same day, at 11:00 am Hague Time (12:00 noon Palestine time), in front of the permanent headquarters of the ICC.
In this context, the State of Palestine exercises its right as a State party in the ICC, and thus refers to the Office of The Prosecutor the crimes committed by officials of Israel, the occupying power, against the Palestinian people.
The ICC will be expected to accelerate the opening of a criminal investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel.
“Today, the State of Palestine took an important and historic step towards justice for the Palestinian people, who continue to suffer from ongoing, widespread and systematic crimes,” the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, in a statement, on Tuesday.
“On behalf of the Palestinian people, the State of Palestine exercised its right as a State Party to the Rome Statute to refer the Situation in Palestine, to the International Criminal Court,” the Ministry added.
The statement said that, with the gravity and intensification of crimes committed in the territory of the State of Palestine and the impunity with which Israeli officials and other citizens commit those crimes, it has become necessary for the State of Palestine to take this step.
“The State of Palestine believes there is sufficient and insurmountable evidence available to the Prosecutor to justify opening an investigation immediately,” it added.
MOFA statement also read:
“By taking this step, the State of Palestine is seeking justice and redress, not revenge. By pursuing justice, Palestine is staying true to its principles and objectives and fulfilling its obligations towards the Palestinian people. Palestine is also advancing the cause of peace because justice is the cornerstone of peace.
“Israel’s settlement regime is the single most dangerous threat to Palestinian lives, livelihoods, and national rights. Israel maintains, expands, and protects the settlement regime by committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people. These gave crimes, which fall under the court’s jurisdiction, were highlighted in the referral. They include the forcible transfer of Palestinians, unlawful killings, illegal appropriation of land and property, the demolition of Palestinian homes and other properties, repression of dissent through unlawful killing of peaceful protesters, as well as the policy of mass arbitrary detention and torture.
“This step is intended to ensure that those most responsible for these crimes are held accountable for their actions without further delay. It is in line with steps adopted by the State of Palestine over the past years, in pursuit of justice and accountability, including joining international human rights instruments.
“The International Criminal Court is the competent body to examine these ongoing crimes and prosecute those most responsible for their commission. It must fulfill its responsibilities and advance the cause of justice and accountability.
“The State of Palestine stresses the importance of achieving justice for the victims of crimes, reaffirms its commitment to cooperate fully with the Court and maintains that ensuring justice and accountability is crucial the integrity and credibility of the ICC itself. This is a test the International Criminal Court cannot afford to fail.”