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- Harlan: The parties to the Statute have agreed to give third states the right to accept the jurisdiction of the Court. The recent decision of the Prosecutor to reject the Article 12(3) Declaration of the State of Palestine was ultra vires in accordance with the rules governing the rights and obligations of third states under treaties contained in Articles 35-37 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. English [PDF] The Prosecutor can't revoke or modify an obligation under the Statute after it... (more)
- Harlan: Hi Souheir, The rules by which States are granted permission to deposit treaty instruments after joining one of the UN specialized agencies, like UNESCO, are contained in The Summary of Practice of the Secretary-General as Depositary of Multilateral Treaties under the heading The "Vienna formula"; the,"all States formula"; the practice of the General Assembly. As a member of UNESCO, Palestine unambiguously satisfies the criteria to accede to multilateral treaties opened under the most strict "... (more)
- Souheir: Hi everyone, I understand this debate is still open for contribution despite the fact it has become dormant. Given Palestine's recent admission to UNESCO, I thought it was important to say something about this and also to pick up on some of the comments that have already been made. Palestine’s admission to UNESCO reflects an emerging state practice favouring recognition of Palestinian state The admission of Palestine to UNESCO as a Member State (subject to its signing and ratifying the UNESCO... (more)
- Rosette Bar Haim: A Reply to Mr. Harlan’s Position1 It is necessary to relocate the debate in order to clearly perceive the legal questions at stake in the matter of the PNA Acceptance of Jurisdiction. I firmly believe that this action by the PNA is inherently intermingled with public law, and while public law and politics can coexist, criminal justice and politics cannot. The Statute is the result of a political legal compromise aimed at individual criminal liability,... (more)
- Harlan: Danterzian, I thought that all of Ms. Herzberg's arguments were unconvincing. *The “principles of international law recognized in the Charter of the Nürnberg Tribunal established that certain acts result in international criminal liability when they are "directed against any civilian population." - even stateless Jewish and Roma peoples. Many of the comments here reintroduce the dangerous concept that a State enjoys the freedom to commit criminal acts against an... (more)
- danterzian: I find part of Herzberg's argument troubling. She essentially argues that because (1) the Rome Statute must not allow grave crimes to go unpunished and (2) the PNA and Arab League frequently commit grave crimes, therefore (3) the ICC should not exercise jurisdiction over the grievous crimes committed in Palestine. Although I agree that there are other reasons for the Court to not exercise jurisdiction, I don't believe the above argument is one of them. The Rome Statute's preamble states that... (more)
- Herzberg: The PNA declaration should be rejected for several reasons, particularly because it is part of a soft power political war—also known as the “weaponization” of human rights—that has exploited international legal frameworks in order to avoid a negotiated solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.1 However, the most compelling reason for its rejection is that the PNA and its supporters have “unclean... (more)
- Harlan: danterzian, I believe that Professor Quigley is correct. In 2004 the General Assembly adopted a resolution, A/RES/58/292, on the status of the Occupied Palestinian territory which noted that Palestine was an observer pending its attainment of full membership in the United Nations. That same year, the non-member Permanent Observer.State of the Holy See launched a bid to apply for full membership in the United Nations. When its efforts were unsuccessful, it asked to be granted upgraded observer... (more)
- Harlan: The United States is not a State party to the Rome Statute. I was just illustrating some points made by Professor Quigley - that the United States had recognized the State of Palestine in accordance with the provisions of conventional international law & that it customarily treats States as continuing to exist if their territory is under foreign occupation. The Baltic States provide an example of an undertaking that lasted for many decades. In cases like Kletter, those routine... (more)
- Harlan: Ti-Chiang Chen's classic "The International Law of Recognition:With Special Reference to Practice In Great Britain and United States has a chapter on the Laws of Recognition of Belligerency and Insurgency which discusses the customary rules and the internal inconsistency of the logic of some scholars on the very point you've raised here. How can an entity have the duties and responsibilities of a State under international law, yet still not possess the necessary legal personality of a State?... (more)
Comment on the Gaza Question: “Does the Prosecutor of the ICC have the authority to open an investigation into alleged crimes committed in the 2008-2009 Gaza conflict?”
The parties to the Statute have agreed to give third states the right to accept the jurisdiction of the Court. The recent decision of the Prosecutor to reject the Article 12(3) Declaration of the State of Palestine was ultra vires in accordance with the rules governing the rights and obligations of third states under treaties contained in Articles 35-37 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
The Prosecutor can't revoke or modify an obligation under the Statute after it has been accepted in a written declaration by a third state without first obtaining the consent of the other parties to the Statute. He can't revoke the rights of Palestine under the Statute without its consent either.
Article 5 of the Vienna Convention states that the Convention applies to any treaty which is the constituent instrument of an international organization [like the Rome Statute] and to any treaty adopted within an international organization without prejudice to any relevant rules of the organization.”
State members of UN specialized agencies are included in the categories of States which are automatically recognized as being competent to conclude treaties under the customary rules that were codified and reflected in Articles 6, 81, and 83 of the Vienna Convention. The Secretary-General and the international community of states have a customary and conventional obligation to deal with Palestine as a State. Those rules are reflected in the so-called "Vienna formula". They are discussed in the "Summary of Practice of the Secretary-General as Depositary of Multilateral Treaties" (ST/LEG/7. rev 1). English [PDF]
It is hard to see how Palestine's status as a UN observer can even be a relevant factor, when the customary rules of international treaty law, that govern the Rome Statute itself, are codified in a Convention which accepts all members of UN specialized agencies as a category of States capable of concluding agreements - and Palestine is already a full member state of UNESCO.
The General Assembly has unambiguously recognized them a States too. See for example the resolutions inviting “States Members of the United Nations, States members of the specialized agencies, States Parties to the Statute of the International Court of Justice and States that the General Assembly decides specially to invite” to the international diplomatic conferences that codified the law of treaties, e.g. UN GA resolution 2166 (XXI) and the Rome Statute of the ICC. See UN GA resolution 49/53 of 9 December 1994 and UN GA resolution 50/46 of 11 December 1995
The General Assembly resolution granting Palestine observer status also acknowledged that Palestine enjoys full membership in several organizations of States, e.g. the League of Arab States, the Asian Group of States, & etc. See A/RES/52/250 (1998)