GAZA – Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Wednesday that the formal accession of Palestine to the International Criminal Court, or ICC, is a “historic day in the struggle for justice, freedom and peace.”
“Today marks the official membership of the State of Palestine to the International Criminal Court, reflecting Palestine’s commitment to justice, international law and human rights,” Erekat told the press on Wednesday.
The chief negotiator explained that this step is a reminder to the international community of its responsibilities under international law as a means to achieve just and lasting peace, and to end the prolonged occupation of the Palestinian territories.
Erekat also urged the international community to defend the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people through supporting the government’s judicious, peaceful step to end years of impunity, occupation and exile.
The Palestinian official once again called on all nations to recognize the State of Palestine on the basis of the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Palestine is the 123rd member of the ICC after its accession, which was halfheartedly welcomed by senior Hamas leader Ismail Radwan who called on the ICC to immediately raise charges against “Israeli occupation leaders” for crimes committed against the Palestinian people.
Radwan further stressed the Gazan authority’s support for any Palestinian effort to expose crimes of the occupation, despite his concern that the accession may simply be a “political maneuver.”
Palestine entered on Wednesday the ICC with full membership, allowing it to file cases of war crimes such as those committed in the occupied territories of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.