The State of Palestine Ratifies Rome Statute and Accepts the Court’s Jurisdiction
In a controversial move, the State of Palestine became the 123rd State Party to the Rome Statute when it deposited its instruments of accession to the UN. According to the depositary notification, the action was effected on January 2, 2015 and the Rome Statute will enter into force for the State of Palestine on April 1, 2015 in accordance with Article 126(2).
In the meantime, however, the State of Palestine filed Article 12(3) declaration accepting the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction
for the purpose of identifying, prosecuting and judging authors and accomplices of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court committed in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, since June 13, 2014.
Unlike the other Article 12(3) declarations filed with the Court so far (as previously discussed here, here, and here), the Palestinian one does not identify a specific time frame within which the Court is entitled to exercise its jurisdiction. On the contrary, it specifically articulates that it “shall be valid for an unspecified period of time,” ensuring that the Court can exercise its jurisdiction within Palestinian territory until the Rome Statute enters into force on April 1, 2015. At that point, Article 12(3) declaration is likely to have little or no importance since the Rome Statute, as the later-in-time instrument, will be in force.