Joining International Criminal Court wouldn’t guarantee Palestinians a war crimes case

The New York Times reports: The political fallout from the Palestinian move Wednesday to join the International Criminal Court is likely to be swift and profound.

Israel is expected to withhold tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority, restrict officials’ travel and possibly advance settlement activity in sensitive spots in the West Bank. The United States Congress may cut off $400 million in aid to the Palestinians. The already dim prospects for renewing peace talks now seem null.

But legal repercussions from last summer’s war between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, or Israel’s settlements, would take longer and face many hurdles.

The cases Palestinians plan to bring against Israel, and potential counterclaims against Palestinian officials, are unlike any the International Criminal Court has tackled in its dozen-year history. The Hague court, facing new scrutiny after the collapse last month of its case against the president of Kenya, may be wary of wading into the fraught politics of the Middle East, though doing so could help it rebuff longstanding criticism of its emphasis on pursuing African despots.

“It may jump at the chance because it’s under fire,” Geoffrey Robertson, a British lawyer and author, said of the court, which he follows closely. “This is an opportunity to get out of the endless African wars and to do something which is very much in the public eye, and very much of public importance,” he added. “It would be a new and possibly productive way to deal with the cloudy legalities.” [Continue reading…]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email