Dutch MPs call for inquiry into Israel spying on ICC lawyers

Dutch MPs call for inquiry into Israel spying on ICC lawyers
Dutch lawmakers on Friday called for a probe into reports that Israel spied and intimidated lawyers at the International Criminal Court.
2 min read
01 June, 2024
Dutch lawmakers are calling for a probe into Israel spying and intimidating lawyers at the ICC [GETTY]

Local Dutch MPs are calling on the government to launch a probe into reports that Israel spied on and intimidated lawyers at the International Criminal Court (ICC), based in The Hague.

An investigation by The Guardian, +972 and Local Call magazine found that Israel deployed its intelligence agencies to spy, hack, pressure, smear, and allegedly threaten senior ICC staff to disrupt investigations into Israel’s war crimes in the enclave.

Citing the investigation, the MPs from the liberal-progressive D66 and the Green-Labour alliance are calling for more information on what the government knows and an independent investigation.

Kati Piri, a member of the House of Representatives, submitted a list of written questions urging ministers to investigate the reports and condemning Israel’s actions, saying the Netherlands has a duty to prevent any attacks or threats against the ICC.

The motion questioned how Dutch authorities plan to ensure Khan and the court judges can operate independently without interference and whether witnesses may feel intimidated to testify.

After the chief prosecutor of the ICC issued arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, Karim Khan said, “all attempts to impede, intimidate or improperly influence the officials of this court must cease immediately”.

The investigation found that Israeli intelligence captured phone calls, messages, emails and documents of many ICC officials, including Khan and his predecessor, Fatou Bensouda.

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The former head of Israel’s Mossad foreign intelligence agency, Yossi Cohen, allegedly threatened Bensouda during a series of meetings, trying to pressure her into abandoning a war crimes investigation.

The ongoing espionage provided Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with advanced knowledge of the warrants.

The motion also called for the ministers to disclose how many complaints the ICC has received about intimidation, bribery, blackmail, or espionage attempts by Israel or other countries since 2015 after Palestine joined the court.

The ICC recently ordered Israel to “immediately halt” its offensive on Rafah after South Africa accused Israel of stepping up its genocide after invading Rafah.