Palestinians formally submit documents to UN to join ICC

The Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations Friday formally submitted to the office of the Secretary-General Palestine’s application to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).

It marked the next step in the Palestinian leadership’s drive to pursue war crimes charges against Israel and to challenge Israeli settlement building.

Although Palestine has not become a member state of the United Nations, the General Assembly recognizes Palestine as an observer state and the ICC, in turn, recognizes that status.

Submitting documents known as instruments of ratification to the U.N.’s legal office is the final formal step for Palestine to become a member of the ICC, setting in motion a review process that will take about 60 days to complete. It also could trigger a congressional review of about $400 million in annual aid to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Speaking to the media at the U.N. headquarters Friday, Ambassador Riyad Mansour spoke about prosecuting Israel for the recent war in Gaza to “seek justice for all those killed by the Israeli occupier.”

This latest international move by the Palestinians comes two days after the application membership to the Hague-based ICC was signed by President Mahmoud Abbas. “We are honored that we are to be the 123rd state party to join the ICC,” Mansour said.

When asked about the possibility of Palestinian leaders, most notably Hamas leaders, being pursued for war crimes, Mansour said that the option was “political posturing” by Israel. “We are not afraid of the judgment of the law, especially international law,” he said.