The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) UN envoy, Riyad Mansour, told member-states of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in a first address on Monday that the Palestinians plan to join the ICC “at an appropriate time.”
Mansour made the address after the PA was given the status of observer state to the assembly of states parties to the ICC. The PA has yet to formally apply to join the 122-member court.
“The time to join will be decided by our leadership at an appropriate time,” Mansour said, according to the AFP news agency.
“It is the court where the Palestinian people desire to seek justice for the war crimes and crimes against humanity being perpetrated against them by Israel, the occupying power, in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem,” he charged.
The PA has been threatening for years that it will sue Israel at the ICC. The PA’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Riyad al-Maliki, recently met with ICC officials and inquired about the legal procedures necessary for the PA to join the ICC and sign the Rome Statute, thus allowing it to take action against possible Israeli war crimes in Gaza.
That move came after the PA requested to join 15 international agencies in breach of the conditions of the peace talks that were going on with Israel at that time.
Despite the constant threats to turn to the ICC, PA officials realize that doing so is a calculated risk because it would give Israel a forum to pursue war crimes charges against the PA as well and particularly against Hamas.
In a recent interview, the PA’s envoy to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) admitted the PA has no hope of pressing charges against Israel in international courts – because Palestinian terrorist groups are far worse violators of international law themselves.