Gaza war probe: ICC seeks end to court threats

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By Creative Media News

  • ICC prosecutor’s office seeks cessation of staff intimidation
  • Threats from Israeli, American authorities amid potential ICC proceedings
  • Biden administration urged to oppose ICC action against Israel

The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) prosecutor’s office has issued a request to cease what it considers to be intimidation of its staff, stating that such threats could violate the “administration of justice” by the permanent war crimes tribunal of the globe.

On Friday, the Hague-based office of International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan issued a statement urging an immediate cessation of any endeavors to hinder, intimidate, or inappropriately exert influence over its officials.

Although not explicitly referencing Israel, the prosecutor’s statement was released after threats from Israeli and American authorities that the ICC could face repercussions should it issue arrest warrants concerning Israel’s Gaza conflict.

Khan’s office stated that the Office endeavors to engage in constructive dialogue with all stakeholders whenever doing so is consistent with its mandate to act independently and impartially under the Rome Statute.

“Nonetheless, this impartiality and independence are compromised, nevertheless, when individuals issue threats of retaliation against the Court or its personnel in the event that the Office, in the course of carrying out its duty, renders decisions regarding investigations or cases under its purview.”

By the Rome Statute, which delineates the jurisdiction and organizational framework of the ICC, threats against the court and its personnel are strictly forbidden.

Media reports have suggested that the International Criminal Court (ICC) may issue arrest warrants for Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in connection with the country’s actions in Gaza over the past week.

Individuals may be prosecuted by the court on charges of alleged genocide, war crimes, or crimes against humanity. Since the onset of hostilities on October 7, the Israeli military has caused extensive devastation in Gaza, expelling approximately 35,000 individuals.

The country and its allies in the United States responded strongly to news of potential ICC proceedings against Israeli officials.

Netanyahu issued a video message rebuking the court on Tuesday. He stated, “Israel expects the leaders of the free world to firmly oppose the ICC’s abhorrent assault on Israel’s natural right to self-defense.

“We anticipate that they will employ every available method to halt this perilous maneuver.”

Several lawmakers in Washington demanded that President Joe Biden intervene and prevent any International Criminal Court action against Israel.

Taking this course of action against Israel would severely damage the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) reputation and ethical integrity, Democratic Senator John Fetterman wrote on social media this week.

“As part of the administration’s ongoing commitment to Israel, urging [Biden] to intervene.”

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The Biden administration lifted sanctions imposed by former President Donald Trump against ICC officials in 2021.

Although neither Israel nor the United States have ratified the Rome Statute, the jurisdiction of the court has been recognized by Palestine, a permanent observer state at the United Nations.

Since 2021, the court has been conducting an inquiry into potential Israeli violations in the occupied Palestinian territory. Khan has stated that his team is investigating possible war crimes committed during the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

Khan stated in October that any potential war crimes committed by Hamas combatants in Israel or Israeli forces in Gaza fell within the court’s jurisdiction.

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