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ICC asks Palestinian Authority to clarify status of Oslo Accords

The Oslo Accords' dissolution could impact the ICC's potential probe into Israeli war crimes [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 May, 2020

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The International Criminal Court has asked for clarification on the status of the Oslo Accords after Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said his government was "absolved" of all agreements with Israel.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday asked the Palestinian Authority to clarify whether the Oslo Accords are still in effect after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said his government has pulled out of all agreements with Israel.

Commenting on Israel's plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, Abbas last week said the Palestinian government and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) were "absolved [...] of all the agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments and of all the obligations based on these understandings and agreements, including the security ones".

As the ICC deliberates on its jurisdiction over a potential war crimes probe into Israel, the court has asked the Palestinians to clarify Abbas' statement.

"The [pre-trial chamber] requests Palestine to provide additional information on this statement, including on the question whether it pertains to any of the Oslo agreements between Palestine and Israel, by no later than 10 June 2020," the ICC said in its order.

The ICC has also ordered prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and invited Israel to respond to information submitted by Palestine by June 24.

The Oslo Accords, signed by Israel and the PLO in 1993 and 1995, marked the start of a peace process between Israel and Palestine under United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Though the Oslo Accords have not created a Palestinian state, they have implemented the Palestinian Authority, which Abbas presides over.

A dissolution of the accords could have ramifications on the ICC's deliberations over the potential probe, which include debates over Palestinian statehood.

Citing Palestinian sources, Haaretz reported that Palestine has not yet "closed the door" on its security coordination with Israel.

Last year, Bensouda announced after a five-year preliminary investigation that there were reasonable grounds to believe war crimes had been committed by Israeli forces in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Before launching an investigation into war crimes in the Palestinian territories, Bensouda had asked the Hague-based court's pre-trial chamber to confirm whether the ICC has jurisdiction over alleged offences committed there.

Seven countries - Canada, Germany, Austria, Australia, Hungary, Brazil, the Czech Republic and Uganda - have disputed the ICC's jurisdiction to investigate Israel, arguing that Palestine is not a state.

The potential probe has angered Israel and the United States, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week warning the US will "exact consequences" if the ICC moves forward with the investigation.

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