UNITED NATIONS (AP) – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said late Tuesday that the state of Palestine will join the International Criminal Court on April 1, a high-stakes move that will enable the Palestinians to pursue war-crimes charges against Israel.
The Palestinians submitted the documents ratifying the Rome Statute that established the court last Friday, the last formal step to accepting the jurisdiction of the world’s permanent war crimes tribunal. The UN said the secretary-general would review the paperwork.
In a statement posted on the UN’s treaty website, the secretary-general announced his acceptance of the documents saying “the statute will enter into force for the State of Palestine on April 1, 2015” in accordance with the court’s procedures.
He said he was “acting in his capacity as depositary” for the documents of ratification.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed documents to join the ICC a day after the UN Security Council rejected a resolution on Dec 30 that would have set a three-year deadline for the establishment of a Palestinian state on lands occupied by Israel.
Joining the ICC is part of a broader Palestinian strategy to pressure Israel into withdrawing from the territories and agreeing to Palestinian statehood.