ICC resource materials, including submissions, statements and judicial decisions

State of Palestine

Focus: Crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court that are alleged to have been committed in the Situation since 13 June 2014, the date to which reference is made in the Referral of the Situation to the Office of the Prosecutor.

On 3 March 2021, the Prosecutor announced the opening of the investigation into the Situation in the State of Palestine. This followed Pre-Trial Chamber I's decision on 5 February 2021 that the Court could exercise its criminal jurisdiction in the Situation and, by majority, that the territorial scope of this jurisdiction extends to Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Background:

On 1 January 2015, the Government of Palestine ("Palestine") lodged a declaration under article 12(3) of the Rome Statute accepting the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court ("ICC") over alleged crimes committed "in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, since June 13, 2014". On 2 January 2015, Palestine acceded to the Rome Statute by depositing its instrument of accession with the UN Secretary-General. The Rome Statute entered into force for Palestine on 1 April 2015.

Upon receipt of a referral or a valid declaration made pursuant to article 12(3) of the Rome Statute, the Prosecutor, in accordance with regulation 25(1)(c) of the Regulations of the Office of the Prosecutor, and as a matter of policy and practice, opens a preliminary examination of the situation at hand. Accordingly, on 16 January 2015, the Prosecutor announced the opening of a preliminary examination into the Situation in the State of Palestine in order to determine whether the Rome Statute criteria for opening an investigation are met. Specifically, under article 53(1) of the Rome Statute, the Prosecutor shall consider issues of jurisdiction, admissibility and the interests of justice in making this determination.

On 22 May 2018, pursuant to articles 13(a) and 14 of the Rome Statute, Palestine referred to the Prosecutor the Situation since 13 June 2014, with no end date. Such a referral did not automatically lead to the opening of an investigation, since the Prosecutor still had to determine whether the statutory criteria to open an investigation were met.

On 20 December 2019, the Prosecutor announced that following a thorough, independent and objective assessment of the reliable information available to her Office, the preliminary examination into this Situation had concluded with the determination that all the statutory criteria under the Rome Statute for the opening of an investigation had been met. However, given the complex legal and factual issues attaching to this situation, she announced that she would be making a request to Pre-Trial Chamber I for a ruling to clarify the territorial scope of the Court's jurisdiction in this Situation. In the Prosecutor's request, dated 22 January 2020, the Office set out its legal position, and encouraged the Chamber to hear views and arguments from all stakeholders before deciding the specific jurisdictional question before it.