The Palestinian Authority has become a member of the International Criminal Court and is marking the momentous occasion with a low-key ceremony at the court's headquarters.

Palestinians signed the court's founding treaty in January and it came into force Wednesday, an event welcomed by activists who see it as an opportunity to bring accountability to years of conflict between Palestinians and Israel.

Israel is not a member of the ICC, but the country's military and civilian leaders could now face charges if they are believed to have committed crimes on Palestinian territory.

The court's chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, opened a preliminary investigation in mid-January after the Palestinians formally accepted the court's jurisdiction dating back to just before last year's Gaza conflict.