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The Secretary General of the UN accepts Palestinian application for membership to the ICC

Translated Sunday 18 January 2015, by Khalil Rahman

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations has accepted the request of the Palestinians to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), said the UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on Wednesday. This decision will allow the ICC to investigate the April 1st allegations of crimes committed in the Palestinian territories.

Ban Ki-moon announced his decision to accept the Palestinian Authority’s application for membership to affiliate countries of the ICC Tuesday evening, said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric. "The secretary general has ensured that the received documents were in order before accepting them to be filed," he said.

The goal of the Palestinian bid process that started last Friday at the United Nations is to be able to ask, before this court, for accounts to Israeli leaders for future military operations in Gaza or Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. This initiative is part of a diplomatic offensive at the UN by the Palestinians. They intend to submit another draft resolution to the Security Council in the coming weeks, as the previous draft was rejected last week in New York. In retaliation, Israel froze the payment of 106 million euros in taxes collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, effective on Saturday. Washington had also denounced the Palestinian approach, calling it an "escalation against productivity" that "adds to the tension" with Israel.

Based in The Hague, the ICC has jurisdiction to prosecute alleged perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed since July 1st, 2002. A total of 122 States, which does not include Israel, have now joined to the Rome Statute. On January 1st, the Palestinian Authority had recognized the ICC’s jurisdiction over crimes allegedly committed after June 13th, 2014, when Israel launched a massive campaign of arrests following the war in Gaza. This legal procedure, that only a state can start, allows the ICC to investigate crimes allegedly committed in the past, while joining the ICC would only allow this Court to investigate possible future crimes. The Palestinians have acquired the non-member observer state status at the UN since November 2012, which has opened the possibility for them to join a series of treaties and international conventions, including the ICC.

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