UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said Palestine will join the International Criminal Court (ICC) on April 1, a move that will enable the Palestinians to pursue war-crimes charges against Israel.
In a statement posted on the UN’s treaty website on Tuesday night, the secretary-general announced his acceptance of the documents saying “the statute will enter into force for the State of Palestine on April 1, 2015.”
Moon said he was acting as the “depositary” for the documents of ratification, the Associated Press news agency reported.
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas submitted the documents ratifying the Rome Statute that established the court last Friday, the last formal step to becoming a member of the world’s permanent war crimes tribunal.
Abbas signed documents to join the ICC a day after the UN Security Council rejected a resolution that would have set a three-year deadline for the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Following the decision, Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian Ambassador to the UN said, he would “seek justice for all those killed by the Israeli occupier.”
Mansour said he would also seek justice for Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory, which he said constitute “a war crime” under the Rome statute.
Joining the ICC is part of a broader Palestinian strategy to pressure Israel into withdrawing from the territories and agreeing to Palestinian statehood.
The decision has already sparked retaliation from Israel which froze the transfer of more than $100 million in tax funds it collects on the Palestinians’ behalf, in a blow to Abbas’ cash-strapped government.
Israel promised tougher action on Sunday.
The move is also strongly opposed by the US, who on Monday, said would review its annual $440 million aid package.