World Court asks PA: Are Oslo Accords still in force?

The clarification was requested by three judges tasked with determining whether the Court can proceed with a criminal investigation against Israel for war crimes.

By World Israel News Staff

The International Criminal Court in The Hague requested that the Palestinian Authority (PA) let it know if the Oslo Accords are still in force on Tuesday.

The clarification was requested by three judges tasked with determining whether the Court can proceed with a criminal investigation against Israel for war crimes. One of the criteria is that the PA constitutes an independent state.

The judges want to know if the 1993 Oslo Accords were included in the agreements that PA President Mahmoud Abbas said were cancelled with Israel.

Abbas said on May 19 that the Palestinian side is “absolved, as of today, of all the agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments and of all the obligations based on these understandings and agreements.”

He was protesting Israel’s intention to annex approximately 30 percent of Judea and Samaria, areas which he wants for a future Palestinian State.

When the initial hearings began, Israel’s Attorney General argued that because the Oslo Accords are still valid, the PA isn’t a state, so the accusations of Israeli war crimes can’t be tried by the court.

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In December, the court’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said, “I am satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine. There is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed in the context of the 2014 hostilities in Gaza.”

Israel is not a member of the ICC, nor does it recognize the the court’s jurisdiction. The Palestinians, who are members, requested the investigation five years ago.

The Palestinians have until June 10 to respond. Bensouda must then answer that response by June 14. Israel will have a chance to respond until June 24.

It’s not clear what the legal outcome will be if the PA says that the Oslo Accords are indeed cancelled. On the one hand, the PA was created out of the Oslo Accords. If it cancels it, it could be interpreted as cancelling the legal basis for its existence.

On the other hand, Israel’s Attorney General had used the fact that the Oslo Accords are in force as a reason that the PA is not considered a state and therefore the court has no jurisdiction.

The Oslo Accords didn’t create a Palestinian State but provided a framework that might lead to its creation.

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Critics of the court say it has become weaponized against Israel and the U.S. 

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), an Israel-based research group headed by a former adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, issued a report detailing how two international nonprofit groups hijacked the ICC to ensure it targets the United States and Israel for prosecution on charges that both nations have called unwarranted.