Palestine formally joins ICC

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Palestine has formally attained membership of the International Criminal Court, a move that could open the door to possible war crime indictments against Israeli officials despite uncertainty over its wider ramifications.

The accession on Wednesday is another landmark in the Palestinian diplomatic and legal international campaign, which gained steam in 2014.

The Palestinians moved to join The Hague-based court on January 2, in a process that was finalised on Wednesday, setting the scene for potential legal action.

“Palestine has and will continue to use all legitimate tools within its means in order to defend itself against Israeli colonisation and other violations of international law,” said senior Palestinian official Saeb Erakat.

Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hull, reporting from The Hague, said despite their membership, the Palestinians may still have to wait for the ICC to begin investigating Israelis accused of war crimes.

“This is such a heavily politicised case, that the court will have to think hard before taking action against the Israelis. It may be years before we something.”

Diana Chehade, a former ICC official, told Al Jazeera, preliminary examinations could be completed by the end of this year, but the court would not investigate cases already being looked in to by other judicial institutions.

“Based on the principle of complimentarity, the ICC would not investigate if an Israeli judicial institution is investigating a war crime to ICC standards,” Chehade said.

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