Palestine to join ICC on April 1

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki leaves the ICC at the Hague ©Reuters

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki leaves the ICC at the Hague ©Reuters

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has officially announced that Palestine will join the International Criminal Court (ICC) on April 1, 2015. The Palestinians submitted the documents ratifying the Rome Statute last Friday, January 2.

In addition, the Palestinian government lodged a declaration to the ICC Registrar, Herman von Hebel, under article 12(3) of the Rome Statute stating Palestine’s acceptance of the jurisdiction of the ICC since 13 June 2014. The jurisdiction ratione temporis of the ICC over crimes committed in Palestine could therefore cover both Operations Brother’s Keeper and Protective Edge.

To date, 122 countries have ratified the Rome Statute, with the notable exceptions of the United States and Israel.

Event: Uganda’s ICD, the first domestic international crimes court in Africa

The Asser Institute is organizing a lecture on “The International Crimes Division of Uganda, the first domestic international crimes court in Africa”.

TMC logoDate: Wednesday 21 January 2015, 7pm

Venue: T.M.C. Asser Instituut, The Hague, NL

Speaker: Mrs. Harriet Ssali Lule, Deputy Registrar of the International Crimes Division (ICD) of the High Court of Uganda

The ICD is the first domestic international crimes court to be set up in Africa, mainly to try perpetrators of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) war led by Joseph Kony.

Since the ICD was set up in 2008, the court has embarked on a case against one of the LRA’s top commanders, Thomas Kwoyelo. The case, which is pending on a constitutional petition before the Supreme Court, will have great impact on the jurisprudence in Uganda if returned to the ICD for prosecution. The judgment is expected in early 2015.

As the Thomas Kwoyelo case and Joseph Kony arrest are still pending, the ICD has been very busy setting up the various infrastructures necessary for an international crimes court to run efficiently. Namely, the Rules of Procedure and Evidence (RPE) which were recently completed and the launch of the Rules is to take place in early 2015.

This lecture will delve into these and other issues related to Uganda’s ICD.

SCL Lectures are public and free of charge. Registration is not necessary, seats are available on a first-come-first-served basis.

Palestine Signs the Statute of the International Criminal Court

Mahmoud AbbasLast Wednesday, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas signed the Rome Statute to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).

He signed the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty, at a Ramallah meeting.

However, the International Criminal Court will only acquire jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of genocide on Palestinian territory when Palestine will have ratified the Rome Statute.

The signature follows the rejection of a UN Security Council resolution demanding an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories by late 2017.

Eight members of the Security Council voted for that resolution, while it needed the support of at least nine members in order to pass.

“We want to complain. There’s aggression against us, against our land ” […] “The Security Council disappointed us”, Mr Abbas said.

The Palestinian Authority sought to accept the jurisdiction of the ICC back in May 2009 by way of an Article 12(3) declaration. In April 2012, the Office of the Prosecutor determined that since Palestine was an “observer entity,” it could not ratify the Rome Statute.

In November 2012, the UN upgraded Palestine’s membership status to that of a non-observer member state. Writing in an op-ed for The Guardian in August 2014, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda stated that the effect of this upgraded status was such that Palestine could now join the Rome Statute.