Al-Haq Position Paper on Issues Arising from the Palestinian Authority’s Submission of a Declaration to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Under Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute
Al Haq Position Paper
22 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2009
Date Written: December 14, 2009
In early 2009 the Palestinian Authority submitted a declaration under Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute recognizing the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court ‘for the purpose of identifying, prosecuting and judging the authors and accomplices of acts committed on the territory of Palestine since 1 July 2002.’ In the first instance this paper argues that whereas the existence or otherwise of a state of Palestine remains moot at best for the purpose of international law and international relations broadly speaking, a compelling argument can be made that for the purposes of the Statute only, a determination by the Court that Palestine is a state that can engage with the Court would be valid and in line with the Court and the Statute’s statutory requirements. The paper, drawing on the criteria being relied upon by the Office of the Prosecutor in order to decide whether the PA, as an institution established by the PLO, has the necessary ‘capacity’ to transfer its jurisdiction to the Court, then addresses the extent of the PA’s jurisdiction over international crimes. It demonstrates that the PA can legitimately prosecute individuals responsible for crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC regardless of the nationality of the individuals concerned and that the PA has the ability to enter into international agreements. It concludes by asserting that the ICC may validly consider Palestine to be a state for the purposes of Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute and may accept the transfer of jurisdiction from the PA to the Court in line with the Statute and the principles of international law.
Keywords: International Criminal Court, jurisdiction, Palestine, Israel, Rome Statute, universal jurisdiction
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