Palestinian envoy to the UN Riyad Mansour yesterday stressed on the Palestinian government’s desire to join the International Criminal Court “in time”.
In the first speech given by a Palestinian official in front of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute that established the ICC, Mansour said: “There is in fact a consensus among the Palestinians and the political leaders and their organisations to join the International Criminal Court.”
“The decision will be taken by the leadership at the appropriate time. We could be the ICC’s 123 member state.”
Mansour was invited to speak in front of the Assembly at UN headquarters in New York under Article 94 which allows non-member or observer states to delegate a representative to address the Assembly.
In November 2012, Palestine attained the status of non-member observer at the United Nations, which gives it the right to join a series of international treaties and conventions including the Treaty of Rome and to prosecute Israel for war crimes, especially in the Gaza Strip.
Currently, 122 countries ratified the Rome Convention. The list does not include either the United States or Israel.
Mansour said Palestinians want to achieve justice through the International Criminal Court on war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.
He pointed in particular to the “killing of 500 Palestinian children mercilessly and more than 3,000 wounded” during the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip in summer.
The Palestinians have repeatedly threatened to join the International Criminal Court if the UN Security Council does not vote in favour of setting a timeline to end Israeli occupation of areas captured in 1967.