[JURIST] Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas [official profile] on Wednesday signed the Rome Statute [text, PDF] to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] at a meeting in Ramallah. The Rome Statute is the founding treaty of the ICC. It lists the “crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the ICC, the court’s rules of procedure and the mechanisms for States to cooperate with the ICC” [ICC backgrounder]. President Abbas’s signing of this treaty is one of many efforts by the country to obtain statehood, and membership could allow Palestine to pursue charges against Israel for war crimes. President Abbas has also signed a multitude of other treaties for international conventions. Earlier this week, President Abbas told US Secretary of State John Kerry [official website] that Palestine plans to submit a resolution for a UN Security Council [official website] statehood bid [JURIST report].
In recent months conflict between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory have led to the deaths of hundreds of civilians, prompting the UN and the international community to call for an end to the conflict. In November UN human rights experts suggested [JURIST report] that the Israeli government’s use of house demolition as a punitive measure in response to alleged acts of violence by Palestinians end immediately. In September UN experts stated [JURIST report] that there has not been a single child in the Gaza Strip area not affected by the ongoing conflict. In August UN Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian Territories occupied since 1967 [official website] formally requested access [JURIST report] to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory to gather first-hand information into the human rights situation in Gaza. In 2013 another UN human rights expert called on Israel [JURIST report] to cease all settlement activity and immediately withdraw settlers from Palestinian territories.