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Palestinians File ICC Claim over US Embassy Relocation
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki (left) and Palestinian Ambassador to the Netherlands Nabil Abuznaid leave the International Criminal Court in The Hague on August 5, 2014. (Martijn Beekman/AFP/Getty Images)

Palestinians File ICC Claim over US Embassy Relocation

The Palestinian Authority filed an “indictment” with the International Court of Justice in The Hague over US President Donald Trump’s decision to relocate the country’s embassy to Jerusalem. PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki reportedly submitted the claim on Wednesday, which marked the one-year anniversary of the US move. “After the Trump Administration carried out its provocative and illegal action, the State of Palestine continues to seek justice and accountability through the tools and mechanisms available to law-abiding and respecting [nations] within the international system,” Maliki wrote in a statement. Ramallah’s action is unlikely to bear fruit given that Washington is not a party to the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding charter, and the court thus lacks jurisdiction to investigate cases related to US policy or involving American citizens. Somewhat ironically, US presidents have in the past threatened to punish the Palestinians for turning to the ICC with war crimes claims against Israel, which likewise is not a party to the Rome Statue. For its part, the PA acceded to the convention in 2015 despite the absence of a formal Palestinian state. Last September, US National Security Adviser John Bolton called the ICC “ineffective, unaccountable and, indeed, outright dangerous,” adding that “if the court comes after us, Israel or other US allies, we will not sit quietly.” Notably, ICC judges in April declined a prosecutor’s request to open a case looking into purported crimes committed by US military personnel in Afghanistan. Thereafter, Trump described the ICC as “illegitimate” and a danger to American sovereignty.

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