The Palestinian Authority became a formal member of the International Criminal Court on Wednesday in a move that could open the way for Israelis and Palestinian militants—including those from Hamas—to be prosecuted for war crimes.

The Guardian reports:

International justice activists hailed the occasion as an opportunity to bring accountability after years of conflict between the Palestinians and Israel, but Palestinians backed away from earlier threats to introduce a raft of complaints on formally becoming the court’s 123rd member.

Instead they will wait for the outcome of a preliminary investigation launched by the court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, initiated when the Palestinian Authority acceded to the court’s governing Rome statute 90 days ago.

The decision not to press ahead immediately with cases has been seen by observers as a way of avoiding an immediate conflict with the US Congress, which has the authority to freeze US aid to the Palestinian Authority should it pursue its own cases.

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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