Since the summer 2014 Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, the calls have grown louder for Palestine to ratify the Rome Statute and join the International Criminal Court (ICC). Palestinian factions across the political spectrum have indicated that they would support such a move. But in spite of gaining the status of an observer-state at the United Nations, Palestine has yet to join the ICC. While acceding to the Rome Statute and filing the application to the ICC is a relatively straightforward process, there are numerous risk factors involved. This article investigates a variety of possible scenarios and their likely outcomes, including the legal mechanisms necessary for acceding to the Rome Statute, and alternative measures that the Palestinian leadership might envisage.
Victor Kattan is a postdoctoral fellow at the Law Faculty of the National University of Singapore (NUS). He was previously a legal adviser to the Palestinian Negotiations Support Project in Ramallah, on secondment from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Kattan is the author of From Coexistence to Conquest: International Law and the Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict 1891–1949 (London: Pluto Press, 2009) and is the editor of The Palestine Question in International Law (London: The British Institute of International and Comparative Law, 2008). This paper was written for a presentation that took place at the NUS Middle East Institute on 10 September 2014.