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ICC to consider legal meaning of Palestine statehood

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website; JURIST backgrounder] on Friday said that they will consider the legal implications of Palestinian statehood following a UN resolution [press release] recognizing Palestine as a non-member state. The UN General Assembly (UNGA) [official website] passed the resolution on Thursday, elevating Palestine from "non-member observer entity" to "non-member observer state." In a statement released to reporters on Friday, the ICC said that it would consider [Huffington Post report] how the resolution will affect the ICC's relationship with Palestine. The Palestinian Authority (PA) had previously sought to allow ICC jurisdiction in Palestine, but the court said in April that it did not have jurisdiction in Palestine [JURIST report] because the UN had not recognized its statehood.

Tension in the Palestinian region has led to international human rights concerns. In June, a UN expert told the Human Rights Council that people in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories are severely limited in free expression [JURIST report], both by the official governing bodies, and de facto authorities like Hamas. In February Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged Israel to change [JURIST report] its policies of forbidding Palestinians from traveling through and living in Gaza and the West Bank. Its report demonstrated that due to the policies, families are kept separate since some are trapped inside Israel while their family members are forbidden from entering. In January of last year, UN officials alleged [JURIST report] that Israeli authorities engaged in illegal activities including the killing of four Palestinians.I n 2009 Palestine submitted the Declaration recognizing the Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court [text, PDF] to allow the ICC to investigate into the alleged crimes against Palestinians.

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