PA Says It Retains Option to Charge Israel in Hague
The Palestinian Authority says it still has an option to charge Israel with “war crimes” in the International Criminal Court (ICC), which rejected its petition last week because it is not a member of the United Nations.
"The doors are still open for us if we decide to sign the Rome Statute, or go to the UN General Assembly asking to become a non-member state. This is left for the Palestinian leadership to determine," said Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) observer to the UN, Riyad Mansour, according to the Bethlehem-based Ma'an news agency. The Rome Statute established the International Criminal Court
ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on April 3 rejected the PA’s demand for a tribunal on accusations against Israel for its counterterrorist Operation Cast Lead maneuvers in Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009.
"As soon as the General Assembly establishes that Palestine is an observer state, then we can proceed," said Moreno-Ocampo.
The option may change PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s tactics of trying to win full membership, a move that requires two-thirds approvals of the United Nations Security Council. Last fall, Abbas dropped his bid after realizing he was one vote short in the Security Council, whose approval is needed before the motion can be voted on in the General Assembly. The United States threatened to cast a veto if the motion won a two-thirds majority.
Abbas can easily win non-membership status by going to directly to the general Assembly, where he has a guaranteed majority.
Moreno-Ocampo also said that is up to “relevant bodies at the United Nations” or the 120 countries that make up the ICC to decide if the PA can sign the Rome Statute.