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ICC's Khan says Israeli threats 'undermining' court's work

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan says Israeli threats 'undermining' court's work
2 min read
03 May, 2024
Facing threats and pressure from Israel, the ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan has warned that the independence and impartiality of the ICC is being undermined.
ICC prosecutor Karim Khan could issue arrest warrants for Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials due to their conduct in the brutal war on Gaza [Getty]

International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan warned on Friday that the "independence and impartiality" of the court is undermined when individuals threaten to retaliate.

The comment was in an apparent reference to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's claims that any arrest warrant issued against him is an "antisemitic hate crime".

In a statement released by Khan’s office on X, the prosecutor said "such threats, even when not acted upon, may also constitute an offense against the administration of justice under Art. 70 of the Rome Statute," the post said.

"The Office insists that all attempts to impede, intimidate or improperly influence its officials cease immediately," the statement added.

This comes as news emerged earlier this week that the ICC was considering issuing arrest warrants for Netanyahu and other high-ranking Israeli officials due to their conduct during Israel’s indiscriminate war on Gaza.

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Netanyahu responded on Tuesday by saying the issuing of such a warrant would be akin to an "antisemitic hate crime".

On Thursday, the Israeli premier also threatened to retaliate to any prospective arrest warrant by taking steps that could see the collapse of the Palestinian Authority.

The ICC has been investigating potential Israeli war crimes dating back as far as 2014, but the mounting death toll and the scale of the destruction resulting from Israel's war on Gaza has allegedly compelled the ICC to take action.

Since the potential arrest warrants became known, the ICC has come under severe pressure from Israel and the US, with Netanyahu lobbying both his Democratic and Republican allies in Congress to meet with the court and stop the arrest warrants.

In recent days, US Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman was quoted in a report by Axios as saying the United States "should 'think of whether we stay a signatory' to the Rome Statute", which is the treaty that established the ICC.

Additionally, on Monday, US Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson launched an attack on the ICC for the potential arrest warrants, calling it "disgraceful” and lawless".