ICC prosecutor pushes back against Israeli pressure to block arrest warrants of leaders

In statement on X office of Karim Khan warns all attempts to impede, intimidate or improperly influence its officials must cease immediately
The office of the prosecution in the International Criminal Court said on Friday threats against the court or its officers, undermine their independence and impartiality.
"Such threats even when not acted upon may also constitute an offense against the administration of justice under Article 70 of the Rome Statue," Karim Khan's office said in a statement posted on X. "The office insists that all attempts to impede, intimidate or improperly influence its officials, cease immediately.
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קארים חאן והאג
קארים חאן והאג
ICC, Karim Khan
( Photo: AP)
The ICC prosecutor's statement came in the wake of reported Israeli pressure on leaders to intervene over concerns that arrest warrants would be issued for Israeli leaders including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi.
"The Office of the Prosecutor is aware that there is significant public interest in its investigations, and it welcomes comments, communications of concern and engagement in its activities from State and elected officials, non-governmental organizations, scholars and activists." The statement read.
It could be construed to mean that he is aware of everything Israel is attempting to do behind the scenes, including putting pressure and making threats, and could mean that the Israeli attempts have achieved the opposite result. Khan in his statement makes clear that those efforts, would be added to previous alleged violations already being investigated.
The investigation Khan is currently leading probes alleged war crimes on both sides in the Gaza war. The investigation of Israel began before October 7 and included events pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 2015.
Although Israel had not ratified the Rome Statue, the Palestinian Authority did so, therefore the ICC ruled that it had jurisdiction of the Palestinian territories.
"The Office seeks to engage constructively with stakeholders whenever such dialogue is consistent with its mandate under the Rome Statue to act independently and impartially," the statement posted on Friday, read.
Israel reportedly appealed to Republican House Speaker Michael Johnson and some notable senators, in recent days asking them to pressure the ICC prosecutor. Among matters discussed was possible legislative initiatives against the ICC, should arrest warrants be issued against Israeli officials.
Netanyahu even appealed to the families of hostages to intervene. According to a report in Axios, Netanyahu told the Biden administration that if such warrants are issued, it would punish the PA casing its collapse.
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בנימין נתניהו בפגישה עם נציגי משפחות חטופים ומשפחות שכולות מפורום "הגבורה" ופורום "תקווה", במשרד רה"מ בירושלים
בנימין נתניהו בפגישה עם נציגי משפחות חטופים ומשפחות שכולות מפורום "הגבורה" ופורום "תקווה", במשרד רה"מ בירושלים
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting members of family of hostages and fallen IDF soldiers
(Photo: GPO)
He described the possibility of such a move as an "unprecedented antisemitic hate crime.
"The ICC would be targeting all democracies because it would be undermining their inherent right to defend themselves against savage terrorism and wanton aggression," Netanyahu said in a video message. "It will also be the first time that a democratic country fighting for its life according to the rules of war is itself accused of war crimes."
Meeting with family members of Israelis held captive by Hamas, the prime minister said the court in the Hague was fighting against Israel
"International bodies like the ICC arose in the wake of the Holocaust committed against the Jewish people. They were set up to prevent such horrors, to prevent future genocides," Netanyahu said.
"Yet now the International Court is trying to put Israel in the dock. It's trying to put us in the dock as we defend ourselves against genocidal terrorists and regimes, Iran of course, that openly works to destroy the one and only Jewish state. Branding Israel's leaders and soldiers as war criminals will pour jet fuel on the fires of antisemitism, those fires that are already raging on the campuses of America and across capitals around the world," Netanyahu said.
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