The ICJ, together with Palestinian and other international human rights organizations, today urged the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, to pursue the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In a letter addressed to President Abbas, the 17 human rights organizations noted that access to the ICC was an important step towards ensuring international justice for victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Palestine, and would send a message that such crimes cannot be committed with impunity.
The organizations noted the pressure that some countries have brought to bear on Palestine to dissuade it from seeking access to the ICC and urged President Abbas to resist efforts to politicize justice for victims of serious crimes under international law. The letter highlighted that the commission of war crimes with impunity has regularly undermined the peace process and that a credible prosecution threat would help to advance the cause of peace.
The ICJ recently commended the Palestinian authorities for acceding to core international human rights and humanitarian law treaties and emphasized the legal obligations assumed by the Palestinian authorities to respect, protect and fulfil human rights. In the letter to President Abbas, the ICJ and other human rights organizations noted that accession to the Rome Statute would mark another important step towards protecting human rights by ensuring that the ICC can step in to address impunity when domestic authorities are genuinely unable or unwilling to do so.
Said Benarbia, ICJ Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme, tel: +41 22 979 38 17, e-mail: said.benarbia(a)icj.org