The Palestinian Authority (PA) has joined the International Criminal Court, vowing to hand over suspects to The Hague, the Euro News website reports today (April 1, 2015).
In a move strongly opposed by Israel, the Palestinians are becoming the 123rd member of the world's permanent war crimes tribunal. It comes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- a day before Israel's elections last month -- declared that as long as he is prime minister of Israel, he will never recognize a Palestinian independent state, thus sabotaging any effort for a viable Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
"As the Rome Statue enters into force for the State of Palestine, Palestine acquires all the rights as well as responsibilities that come with being a State Party to the Statute," said Judge Kuniko Ozaki, Second Vice-President of the International Criminal Court.
Joining the court is part of the Palestinians' strategy to soon gain global recognition of statehood. The court is already looking at possible crimes committed by Israel during last year's conflict in Gaza.