ICC demands end to threats against court amid Gaza war investigation | Israel’s war against Gaza News

Statement released after Israeli and US officials scolded court over possible arrest warrants over Gaza war.

The prosecution of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has called for an end to what it calls intimidation of its staff, saying such threats could constitute a crime against the “administration of justice” by the permanent war crimes tribunal of the ICC. world.

The Hague-based ICC prosecutor Karim Khan’s office said in a statement on Friday that all attempts to impede, intimidate or unduly influence its officials must cease immediately.

While the prosecutor’s statement did not mention Israel, it was issued after Israeli and US officials warned of consequences against the ICC if it issues arrest warrants over Israel’s war in Gaza.

“The Office seeks to engage constructively with all interested parties as long as such dialogue is consistent with its mandate under the Rome Statute to act independently and impartially,” Khan’s office said.

“However, that independence and impartiality is undermined when individuals threaten retaliation against the Court or its staff if the Office, in compliance with its mandate, makes decisions on investigations or cases that fall within its jurisdiction.”

He added that the Rome Statute, which describes the structure of the ICC and its areas of jurisdiction, prohibits threats against the court and its officials.

Over the past week, media reports indicated that the ICC could issue arrest warrants against Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, over the country’s conduct in Gaza.

The court can prosecute people for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The Israeli army has killed nearly 35,000 people in Gaza and destroyed much of the territory since the war began on October 7.

News of possible ICC charges against Israeli officials sparked intense reaction from the country and its allies in the United States.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu released a video message rebuking the court. “Israel hopes that the leaders of the free world will firmly oppose the ICC’s outrageous attack on Israel’s inherent right to self-defense,” he said.

“We hope they use all means at their disposal to stop this dangerous measure.”

In Washington, several lawmakers called on President Joe Biden to intervene and thwart any ICC action against Israel.

“It would be a fatal blow to the legal and moral standing of the ICC to pursue this path against Israel,” Democratic Senator John Fetterman wrote in a social media post this week.

“Asking (Biden) to intervene as part of the administration’s ongoing commitment to Israel.”

In 2021, the Biden administration lifted US sanctions against ICC officials imposed by former President Donald Trump.

Israel and the United States have not ratified the Rome Statute, but Palestine, a permanent observer state at the United Nations, has accepted the court’s jurisdiction.

The court has been investigating possible Israeli abuses in the occupied Palestinian territory since 2021. Khan has said his team is investigating alleged war crimes in the ongoing war in Gaza.

In October, Khan said the court had jurisdiction over any possible war crimes committed by Hamas fighters in Israel and by Israeli forces in Gaza.