Palestine's membership in ICC is incomplete, says human rights specialist

A human rights specialist said that Palestine has benefited from its membership to the International Criminal Court (ICC), but it faces a problem in understanding and awareness of what joining this court means, stressing that the benefit will remain incomplete unless support is mobilized and Arab and regional efforts are formed to face the challenges.

Palestine unanimously elected days ago a member of the Executive Office of the ICC for the second time in a row, during the meetings of the Assembly of Member States at the Court, held in New York, after Hague.
Hamdi Zaqout, a human rights defender, at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, said in an exclusive meeting with Safa that “the problem we face is in understanding and awareness of what it means to join the court and what will be achieved of it."

"There are some Palestinian parties who have lived with the illusion that the court will achieve justice immediately to the Palestinian people, Zaqout added.

He continued, "Politicians are making statements about that, and the court has become a response to every violation and crimes committed by Israel, but we have said from the beginning that the international community is not ready; there are politicization and double standards in dealing with the Palestinian file."

However, Zaqout pointed out that "despite this, the court provided the Palestinians with a new arena to achieve justice, but Palestine faces an entity that possesses the most powerful types of military, diplomatic and international weapons."

Moreover, the human rights defender noted that the lack of Palestinian awareness of the mechanism of dealing with the determinants of international law is a reason for not reaching the benefit of joining the court.

He stated that the court formed at the same time pressure on Israel and had intense debates between Israel and international human rights organizations, institutions, and states that stood by Palestine in the court, which he considered aside in favor of the Palestinians.

In this vein, he pointed out to the Israeli and American response that "crossed the red lines" towards states or human rights organizations and even extended to the presidency and officials of the ICC, which the US has explicitly declared that "it will hold them accountable", after the ICC's repeated announcement of opening an investigation into war crimes committed by Israel in the Palestinian territories.

"These responses are considered as a victory and pressure on Israel and its ally the United States, in addition to the campaigns launched by each of them against human rights organizations and international institutions that defend the Palestinians in the court and international forums," Zaqout added.

"Unfortunately, some of these organizations have lost their financial sources whose, and others face restrictions in their work as a result of these campaigns," he underscored.

He asserted that “the membership and the benefit will remain incomplete unless the efforts are formed for the Palestinians at the Arab and regional level.”

It is noteworthy that the United Nations decided to accept Palestine as a full member of the court in January 2015, in response to Palestine’s request, which came after a diplomatic campaign launched by the Palestinian Authority to gain international recognition, after the failure of direct negotiations with Israel.

Source : Safa