Trial of Palestinian Groups Attempt to Prevent ICC Membership, Envoy Says

© REUTERS / Jane RosenbergPalestine Liberation Organization
Palestine Liberation Organization - Sputnik International
Palestinian Ambassador to Russia said that the United States and Israel are trying to prevent Palestinians from becoming a member of the International Criminal Court by taking a civil case against the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestine Authority in the US.

MOSCOW, January 16 (Sputnik), Svetlana Alexandrova – The United States and Israel are trying to prevent Palestinians from becoming a member of the International Criminal Court by taking a civil case against the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestine Authority in the US, the Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Fayed Mustafa told Sputnik Friday.

A trial to decide the culpability of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority for a series of attacks on Israel that killed and wounded Americans began at the Manhattan Federal Court on Tuesday.

"We think that this court trial was initiated to pressurize us, and to prevent [Palestine] from moving forward with the steps [as a member] in the International Criminal Court," the Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Fayed Mustafa told Sputnik.

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In 2014 Palestinian Authority joined a number of UN bodies and sought membership of the International Criminal Court. Palestinians announced plans to file a request to the International Criminal Court, upon accession, to investigate alleged war crimes committed by Israel during the 50-day war in Gaza last summer.

"We are sure that they will never get any judgment from the court in this trial," the Palestinian envoy said about the civil case in the US, adding that the delegation from Palestine went to New York last week to participate in the court hearings.

"We hope that this trial will be dismissed," he said stressing that the Palestinian Authority is convinced that the US court does not have the required jurisdiction in this case. "If they want to go ahead with these criminal procedures, we can offer them to pursue their case in the International Criminal Court," Fayed Mustafa concluded.

In the case at the Manhattan Federal Court the Palestinian Authority is accused of continuing to pay security officials, who organized six attacks that killed dozens of people, even after those officials were convicted of murder.

In response, the defense attorney stated that these attacks from 2002 to 2004 were carried out by suicide bombers and gunmen who had their own reasons. The defense emphasized that the Palestinian Authority was the victim of guilt by association, as the terrorist attacks in question were neither ordered nor condoned by the Palestinian Authority.

In 2004 a lawsuit was brought under the US Antiterrorism Act and sought a billion dollars from the Palestinian Authority and the PLO.

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