Opportunities and Challenges Seeking Accountability for War Crimes in Palestine under the ICC Regime

Posted: 29 May 2018

See all articles by Thomas Obel Hansen

Thomas Obel Hansen

Ulster University - Transitional Justice Institute; Charles III University of Madrid

Date Written: May 16, 2018


The International Criminal Court (ICC) is currently conducting a preliminary examination of the situation in Palestine, involving allegations against Israeli authorities and military personnel as well as what the prosecutor refers to as “Palestinian armed groups”.

Contextualizing the ICC’s activity in Palestine to other ICC interventions touching on the interests of major powers, this paper focuses on setting out the opportunities and challenges for advancing accountability for violations of international humanitarian law in Palestine.

The paper makes three overarching arguments, namely:

1) Whereas the ICC has not yet prosecuted any citizen of a global or regional power, it is increasingly scrutinizing the actions of such powers and seems willing to proceed with investigating highly sensitive situations, including potentially Israeli settlement activities.

2) Even if the ICC’s intervention should not lead to criminal trials of those most responsible for violations in Palestine, the process creates increased scrutiny and awareness of (certain types of) violations in Palestine, has significant legitimacy costs for Israel, and may in the best event influence state policies and practices, including with respect to complementarity.

3) Although the ICC process should be seen as a legal one, it has significant ramifications for – and is often being instrumentalized by – political entities.

Keywords: International Criminal Court, Palestine, Israel, Preliminary Examinations

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Hansen, Thomas Obel, Opportunities and Challenges Seeking Accountability for War Crimes in Palestine under the ICC Regime (May 16, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3179480 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3179480

Thomas Obel Hansen (Contact Author)

Ulster University - Transitional Justice Institute ( email )

Shore Road
Newtownabbey, County Antrim BT37 OQB
Northern Ireland

Charles III University of Madrid ( email )

CL. de Madrid 126
Madrid, Madrid 28903

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics