Referral by the State of Palestine Pursuant to Articlesl3(a) and 14 of the Rome Statute
On 16 January 2015, following the State of Palestine's article 12(3) declaration of 1 January 2015, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court announced the commencement of a preliminary examination of the Situation in Palestine to determine "whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation".1 This is the third preliminary examination that the Office of the Prosecutor ("OTP") has undertaken in relation to Palestine. To date, none of these examinations has resulted in a decision to investigate.
Since the opening of the preliminary examination of the Situation in Palestine, Israel has continued unabated to commit crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court. It has done so brazenly in order to advance its settlement regime to an unprecedented level with the aim of pursuing its policy of displacement and replacement of the Palestinian people. This settlement policy has been carried out through the commission of multiple crimes within the Court's jurisdiction. It has been executed in the face of international condemnation of Israel's actions by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Security Council, and a wide range of other international fora.
The Israeli settlement regime represents much more than the physical structures that make up the actual housing units in a specific settlement. The physical structures are part of an entire settlement policy which is enacted, maintained, and expanded by top Israeli officials, governmental and military, and which encompasses a range of sub-policies and practices that allow for the planning, construction, expansion, maintenance, security and development of settlements. The unlawful occupation of the territory of the State of Palestine and the establishment and maintenance of settlements by Israel in Occupied Palestinian Territory ("OPT"), including East Jerusalem, has involved the enactment and maintenance of a multi-layered system of violence and intimidation against the Palestinian population, the destruction and unlawful appropriation of their properties, the severe violation of their fundamental rights on discriminatory grounds and the institutionalization of a separate structure of life and dual system of law and other measures deliberately intended to change the demographic composition of the OPT, including in particular in East Jerusalem. It has also involved the widespread and systematic attack on the Palestinian civilian population, through the commission of crimes, to create and perpetuate such a regime. These acts qualify under the Rome Statute as both war crimes and crimes against humanity.