Shurat HaDin Files War Crimes Complaints Against Top PLO Officials in International Criminal Court

For Immediate Release                                                                                          



(Tel Aviv)   An Israeli civil rights center in Tel Aviv, Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, has filed three war crimes complaints against Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) officials in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague.  The three complaints,  against PLO leaders Jibril Rajoub,  Majid Faraj and Rami Hamdallah, follow the Israeli groups previous ground-breaking ICC complaints against Hamas leader Khaled Mashal (filed in September)[1] and against PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (filed in November)[2] for war crimes and human rights violations.  Shurat HaDin accuses the three Palestinian civilian officials of terrorism, torture and civil rights violations which are all international law offenses and actionable under the Rome Treaty of the ICC.

Today’s filings are the first war crimes complaints filed against senior Palestinian officials since PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas signed the Rome Treaty late last week.

Jibril Rajoub is Deputy Secretary of the Fatah Central Committee and is second to Abbas within Fatah, a terrorist faction within the PLO.  Majid Faraj is head of Palestinian General Intelligence while Rami Hamdallah was previously Minister of the Interior, and now serves as Prime Minister

The Shurat HaDin complaint demands the investigation and arrest of Jibril Rajoub, contending that Rajoub was a leader of Fatah at the time the terrorist group was  responsible for numerous rocket attacks, during the summer’s Gaza War, on Israeli civilians.  Targeting civilians with deadly weapons constitutes a war crime under international law.  Fatah has boasted on its FACEBOOK page and in other social media that it was responsible for launching rockets at Israel this summer.   As a senior Fatah leader Rajoub should be held responsible for the actions of his subordinates who act according to the terrorist faction’s policies and goals.  The terrorist rocket attacks from Gaza left numerous Israelis dead and injured.

The Shurat HaDin complaint also alleges that Faraj and Hamdallah knowingly employ torture against ordinary Palestinians.  Faraj and Hamdallah both are senior officials responsible for agencies within the Palestinian security apparatus and are liable for the widespread civil rights abuses and killings which were perpetrated by those agencies.  The complaint requests that the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC investigate Faraj and Hamdallah for torture and murder and issue warrants for their arrest.

The complaint importantly notes that all three PLO officials are Jordanian citizens and that Jordan is a state member of the ICC. As such, the Chief Prosecutor can immediately launch an investigation. In a groundbreaking approach, Shurat HaDin Chairperson Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner shows that all three men can be prosecuted in the ICC for offenses dating back to 2002 because, “These PLO officials are all Jordanian citizens and Jordan has been a member of the ICC since its founding in 2002.”   The ICC is empowered to exercise its jurisdiction over all acts committed by the citizen of a member state, wherever those acts are committed, from the date the state was granted membership.

Darshan-Leitner notes that almost all of the PLO leadership possesses Jordanian citizenship.  “The Palestinian leadership is playing with fire.  The Palestine Authority can only file complaints going forward, because court jurisdiction over acts committed within its territory begins at the date that a state joins the court.  Abbas can only complain about future events which occur in the presently undefined territory of the Palestinian Authority because Abbas attempted to join the ICC only now. The Palestinian leadership, however, may be tried by the ICC for the many terrorist acts and human rights abuses, including the Second Intifada, for which they are responsible, dating back to 2002 because they are Jordanian citizens and that is when Jordan joined the court.”

As such, the ICC is compelled to investigate the war crimes and international law violations perpetrated by the PLO officials who retain Jordanian citizenship immediately without waiting for the Palestinian Authority’s membership application to be approved.

According to Darshan-Leitner:  “Abbas and his colleagues in the Hamas terrorist organization believe that the ICC is a weapon to be used against Israel, and that the crimes of Palestinian leaders against their own people and terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians will go unpunished.  All PLO and Hamas officials need to understand that the ICC is a two edged sword and their years of murder, terrorism and hate will now be brought before the prosecutors for investigation.”

Click here to see our legal filings.