The Palestinian Authority (PA) is not a government of a sovereign, recognized state. It cannot be a state party to the different conventions that compose international humanitarian law (IHL). Therefore the main channel through which IHL applies to the PA is through individual criminal responsibility set out in international law, as in the case of grave breaches etc.
Since the PA is a legal entity, which controls to some extent people and territory in the oPt, it can carry some responsibilities according to international law. Separated from the PA, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) which is the internationally recognized representative of the Palestinian people, may also carry some responsibilities under international law.
Obligations in relation to the struggle for self-determination
Moreover, the Palestinian Authority has obligations in relation to the struggle for self-determination. The struggle for freedom from occupation should always be done in accordance with IHL.
It can be mentioned here that in some cases, leaders of armed groups may be liable under the rule of “Command Responsibility” for acts done by their subordinates.
There are several armed groups in the oPt, which do not all affiliate themselves with the PA or the PLO. The acts of groups who are not connected to the PA or the PLO cannot be attributed to them.