THE HAGUE: Palestine formally joined the International Criminal Court on Wednesday, a move the Palestinians hope could open the door to the possible prosecution of Israelis for alleged war crimes.

The accession was marked at a closed-door ceremony at ICC headquarters in The Hague, exactly 90 days after Palestine joined the court’s founding Rome Statute.

The Palestinians called on Israel to also join the global court, which was set up in 2002 to try crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.

Exasperated after decades of failed negotiations with Israel and no prospect of achieving statehood anytime soon, Palestinians have been waging a campaign for recognition at international bodies including the ICC.

“Palestine seeks justice, not vengeance,” foreign minister Riad Malki said after received a symbolic copy of the Rome Statute at the ceremony. “Israel should join us in becoming a member of the International Criminal Court,” Malki said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “should not be afraid... if Israel has any complaints (against us) they should join and present their case to the ICC”.

ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in January launched a preliminary investigation into possible war crimes during last year’s Gaza war.

Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2015

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