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Samuel Estreicher and Julian G. Ku Samuel Estreicher and Julian G. Ku

On Feb. 5, 2021, a Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled that the ICC’s jurisdiction extends to territory occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War, namely, the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. The decision, which was made by a divided chamber over a vigorous 154-page dissent, clears the way for the ICC’s Prosecutor to investigate, arrest, and try any individual whom it finds has committed serious violations of international law in those territories. Israel, which is not a party to the Rome Statute (Statute), which created the ICC and governs its jurisdiction, has rejected this decision and its applicability to Israeli nationals, especially Israeli soldiers. The United States, which is also not a party to the Statute, offered similar criticism of this decision, which may have implications for whether it can continue to provide certain kinds of financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) under U.S. law More importantly, the largely unpersuasive legal basis for the decision to authorize expansive jurisdiction will undercut the ICC’s future effectiveness and legitimacy.

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