Palestine officially accedes to ICC: State TV
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki received written notification from the ICC that Palestine had been accepted as a full member, according to a TV report.

Palestine has officially joined the International Criminal Court (ICC) after The Hague-based tribunal approved its accession bid, Palestinian state television reported Wednesday.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki received written notification from the ICC that Palestine had been accepted as a full member, according to a TV report.

ICC spokesman Fadi al-Abdallah told The Anadolu Agency that Palestine had become the court's 123rd member country.

Palestine officially joined the Rome Statute on Wednesday, an automatic procedure after the passage of two months since the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) filed its membership request with the United Nations, al-Abdallah said.

According to the spokesman, the PA can now ask to have Israeli leaders referred to the court on charges of war crimes committed on Palestinian territory.

Palestinians can also be prosecuted by the court, as ICC prosecutors are mandated with identifying suspects.

In January, Palestinians formally delivered the UN papers ratifying the Rome Statute – the legal document establishing the court – with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon acting as "depository."

The move came after after an Arab draft resolution at the UN General Assembly seeking a deadline for ending the Israeli occupation failed to win the nine votes needed to pass, with the U.S. – Israel's longstanding, veto-wielding ally – voting against it.

Hours later, PA President Mahmoud Abbas applied for Palestinian membership in 18 international treaties, including the Rome Statute.

The ICC was established in 1998 as a court of last resort to prosecute the most heinous offenses – such as war crimes and crimes against humanity – in cases where national court systems failed.

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Last Modified: 2015-04-02 09:02:51
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