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ICC asks PA for clarification over status of Oslo Accords

May 28, 2020 at 4:00 am

International Criminal Court building in The Hague on 30 July, 2016 in the Hague, Netherlands [Michel Porro/Getty Images]

The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday asked the Palestinian Authority (PA) to provide clarification regarding the status of the Oslo Accords, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

According to Haaretz, this request came following the PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ declaration that he is ending all agreements with Israel and the US.

“The Chamber requests Palestine to provide additional information on this statement, including on the question whether it pertains to any of the Oslo agreements between Palestine and Israel, by no later than 10 June, 2020,” the ICC prosecutor wrote.

The status of Israeli-Palestinian agreements could affect the court’s ruling on whether it has jurisdiction to investigate alleged war crimes in Palestinian territories. As reported by Haaretz, the ICC requested the clarification because Israel claims that the Oslo Accords do not consider the PA as a state and therefore it is not under the ICC’s jurisdiction.

In the legal opinion delivered to The Hague regarding the court’s jurisdiction relating to Israeli actions in the Palestinian territory, Israel wrote: “Existing Israeli-Palestinian agreements make it clear that the Palestinians have no criminal jurisdiction either in law or in fact over Area C, Jerusalem and Israeli nationals – and thus cannot validly delegate such jurisdiction to the court.”

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“It is an elementary legal principle that one cannot delegate that which one does not have, and it would thus take yet another act of implausible ‘legal gymnastics’ to claim that the Palestinians have criminal jurisdiction of any kind over Israeli nationals that they can delegate to the Court… such jurisdiction is explicitly excluded in the very agreements that established the Palestinian Authority.”

On Sunday, Abbas declared that his authority had stopped all agreements with Israel and the US, protesting against the Israeli plan to annex large parts of the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

Haaretz, however, reported Palestinian sources stating that security coordination with Israel continues. The newspaper noted that a Palestinian official confirming that Abbas intends to stop coordination, but had not yet “closed the door”.