News Release

Could Israel be Brought Before the International Criminal Court?

Reuters reports: “The U.N. General Assembly is set to implicitly recognize a sovereign state of Palestine on Thursday despite threats by the United States and Israel to punish the Palestinian Authority by withholding much-needed funds for the West Bank government.”

AFP reports: “Britain threatened Wednesday to abstain from a vote for enhanced Palestinian status at the United Nations. … British Foreign Secretary William Hague … said to win Britain’s vote, the Palestinians would also have to pledge not to sue Israel for war crimes through the International Criminal Court … If the request is approved, it will give the Palestinians access to a range of UN agencies and also potentially to the ICC, where they could accuse Israel of war crimes.”

Legal analysts note that if the Palestinian Authority has the political will it could do a wide range of things.

DIANA BUTTU, [email], @dianabuttu
Buttu is a Palestinian-Canadian lawyer and former Palestinian negotiator.

JOHN QUIGLEY, [email],
Professor of international law at Ohio State University, Quigley‘s books include “The Statehood of Palestine: International Law in the Middle East Conflict.”

FRANCIS BOYLE, [email]
Professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of “Palestine, Palestinians, and International Law,” Boyle said today: “This can be the start of a ‘Legal Intifadah’ by Palestine against Israel:

1. “Palestine can join the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court and file a Complaint with the ICC against the illegal settlements and settlers, who are committing war crimes;

2. “Palestine can join the Statute for the International Court of Justice, sue Israel at the World Court, and break the illegal siege of Gaza;

3. “Palestine can join the Law of the Sea Convention and get its fair share of the enormous gas fields lying off the coast of Gaza, thus becoming economically self-sufficient;

4. “Palestine can become a High Contracting Party to the Four Geneva Conventions [this deals with the laws of war];

5. “Palestine can join the International Civil Aviation Organization and gain sovereign, legal control over its own airspace;

6. “Palestine can join the International Telecommunications Union and gain sovereign legal control over its own airwaves, phone lines, bandwidths.”

Boyle was also legal advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organization and Chairman Yasser Arafat on the Palestinian Declaration of Independence of Nov. 15, 1988, as well as to the Palestinian delegation to the Middle East peace negotiations and its chair, Dr. Haidar Abdul Shaffi, from 1991 to 1993.

See Amnesty International UK’s statement: “William Hague Should Stop Using ICC as ‘Political Football’ in Palestinian UN Status Vote.”