The ICC and Palestine: Breakthrough and End of the Road?
international criminal court
Situation in Palestine
international law
Palestinian rights
Israeli accountability
legitimacy war
Oslo accords

The recent ruling of the International Criminal Court (ICC) affirming territorial jurisdiction over the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip may at first appear to be a mere procedural decision outlining the court’s authority to investigate Israeli criminality. Upon closer scrutiny, however, it is clearly much more: an indirect, yet far-reaching vindication of Palestinian resistance and struggle in the ongoing “legitimacy war” with Israel. These legal proceedings have momentous potential implications for broader accountability efforts, which could be significant over time, even if attempts to prosecute Israeli perpetrators are ultimately frustrated. This legal event already sheds light on both the limitations of the court and the legal and geopolitical challenges it faces in cases where suspected perpetrators wield significant influence in international political arenas. As of now, the ICC has gained credibility precisely because it has the institutional courage to take on the architects of Israeli criminality.

Author biography: 

Pearce Clancy is a PhD candidate at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland, Galway, and a legal researcher at the Palestinian human rights and legal aid organization Al-Haq.

Richard Falk is Milbank Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University; chair of global law, faculty of law, Queen Mary University, London; and was the UN Human Rights Council special rapporteur in the occupied Palestinian territories from 2008–14.