Palestine becomes ICC observer

UN envoy Riyad Mansour said Palestine became an observer at the International Criminal Court at the Hague on Monday.

The Palestinian official said the move would strengthen possibilities for Palestinian statehood.

Mansour said Palestine's new status at the ICC was "another victory for Palestinians at the international level, bringing them closer to restoring their rights, and opening the door wide to drag leaders of the Israeli occupation to the dock of this court, so the souls of the victims can finally rest in piece."

He said Palestine was now moving in the direction of becoming full members of the ICC.

The official recognition of Palestine as an ICC observer came as a procedural move at the opening session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, AP reported.

The PLO had in 2009 asked the ICC's prosecutor's office to investigate alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Israeli military in Gaza.

There has so far been no probe as Palestine is not an ICC member state and its status as a state is uncertain in some international institutions.

However, the PLO in late November 2012 obtained the status of observer state at the United Nations, opening the door for an ICC investigation.