Regarding Palestinian Efforts to Accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Taken Question
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
January 8, 2015

Question: Does the U.S. have a position regarding Palestinian efforts to accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court?

Answer: As we have said previously, we have made clear our opposition to Palestinian action in seeking to join the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. This step is counter-productive, will damage the atmosphere with the very people with whom Palestinians ultimately need to make peace, and will do nothing to further the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a sovereign and independent state.

The view of the United States is that the Palestinians have not yet established a state. Neither the steps that the Palestinians have taken, nor the actions the UN Secretariat has taken in performing the Secretary-General’s functions as depositary for the Rome Statute, warrant the conclusion that the Palestinians have established a “state,” or have the legal competences necessary to fulfill the requirements of the Rome Statute. The United States does not believe that the Palestinians are eligible to become a party to the Rome Statute or any of the other treaties at issue, or that the United States is in treaty relations with the Palestinians under any of the treaties that they are seeking to join.

As the UN spokesperson said last April, and as the United Nations specifically confirmed yesterday, the treatment of such documents by the depositary is “an administrative function performed by the Secretariat as part of the Secretary-General’s responsibility as depositary,” and it is for states to resolve “any legal issues raised by instruments circulated by the Secretary-General.”

Ultimately, the parties can only realize their aspirations, including the desire of Palestinians for statehood, through direct negotiations with each other. The United States will continue to work to advance the interest we share in bringing about a lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.