By Bill Van Esveld (Senior Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch.)For almost a year, since obtaining upgraded status at the UN, the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah has had a chance to open the door to justice for serious international crimes committed on Palestinian territory.
They could seize this chance to deter future abuses tomorrow by giving the International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction.
Palestine first lodged a declaration seeking ICC jurisdiction in late January 2009, after the devastating 22-day Gaza conflict that started the month before. In April 2012 the then-ICC prosecutor stopped considering Palestine's declaration, stating that he couldn't decide whether Palestine was a "state," a necessary condition for jurisdiction.