ICC grants UK request to submit observations on jurisdiction in Israel-Palestine arrest warrant case News
OSeveno, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
ICC grants UK request to submit observations on jurisdiction in Israel-Palestine arrest warrant case

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an order on Thursday authorizing the UK to submit written observations regarding the Court’s jurisdiction over Israeli nationals within the context of the Oslo Accords. Additional interested parties may request to submit their observations until 12 July 2024.

The UK, a state party to the ICC’s Rome Statute, requested leave to submit written observations as amicus curiae. The submission pertains to Prosecutor Khan’s request for arrest warrants against Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant as announced in May. Although the UK is not a party to the case, it may offer insight, expertise, or information on the merits of the case before the ICC as it evaluates the arrest warrants. 

The UK specifically aims to address “whether the Court can exercise jurisdiction over Israeli nationals in circumstances where Palestine cannot exercise criminal jurisdiction over Israeli nationals pursuant to the Oslo Accords.” In its submission, the UK references a 2021 decision by the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber I. This decision did not resolve jurisdictional issues related to the Oslo Accords but stated:

[W]hen the Prosecutor submits an application for the issuance of a warrant of arrest or summons to appear under Article 58 of the Statute, or if a State or a suspect submits a challenge under Article 19(2) of the Statute, the Chamber will be in a position to examine further questions of jurisdiction which may arise at that point in time.

The UK argues that, pursuant to Article 19(1) of the Rome Statute, the Chamber must initially determine jurisdiction when considering arrest warrant applications, a matter closely tied to the Oslo Accords.

The Oslo Accords are agreements signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1993 and 1995. The purpose of the Oslo Accords was to establish practical arrangements for administering Gaza and the West Bank, often referred to as the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Specifically, the Oslo II Accord, an interim agreement, granted Israel exclusive criminal jurisdiction over acts committed by Israeli nationals in parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It has been argued that the Oslo Accords prevent Palestine from exercising jurisdiction powers and delegating such jurisdiction to the ICC.

The argument aligns closely with the UK’s request to submit written statements, which the Chamber accepted, allowing submissions regarding the jurisdictional determination of the arrest warrants. Moreover, it acknowledges that other interested parties may also request permission to submit observations. In accordance with Rule 103(1) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, these parties may request leave to file amicus curiae observations until 12 July 2024.