On 11 March 2015, the International Institute for Peace, Justice, and Human Rights (IIPJHR) organized a side event during the 28th session of the Human Rights Council. The topic of the event was the recent signing by the Palestinian Authority of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The problem the Institute sought to address was the role that NGOs and individuals will have from now on. In fact, before the intervention of the ICC, the civil society contributed to the collection of information and evidence of the alleged crimes committed on the Palestinian territories. With the advent of this new actor, the role that civil society will perform has yet to be determined.

Mr. Jean-François Fechino, director of the IIPJHR, and Mr. Adel Atieh, Counselor for the UNOG Palestinian delegation, were key speakers at the event.

Mr. Fechino emphasized the eagerness of NGOs to continue supporting the State of Palestine. Even though the arrival of the ICC might mean the end of militancy, in order to leave the floor to litigators and juridical experts. He also stated the readiness of the IIPJHR to act as a bridge between Palestine and European NGOs, in accordance with the objective and strategy of the Palestinian Government.

Mr. Atieh highlighted the role that civil society has maintained in supporting the Palestinian people and the quest for justice in the region. He also pointed out the willingness of the Palestinian government to continue asking for the support of the public in this matter, as long as it is consistent with the strategy set by Palestinian authorities. He also warned against the dangers of overloading the ICC with too many files, which might impede the work of the court.

The Institute thanks the speakers for their contributions and will keep looking into this matter and monitoring future developments.