US and Israel criticised for threatening International Criminal Court

US and Israel criticised for threatening International Criminal Court

US and Israeli threats against the International Criminal Courts (ICC), its officials and members of their families have been condemned in a joint statement signed by dozens of UN experts.

The intervention comes a week after the office of ICC prosecutor Karim Khan demanded an end to “all attempts to impede, intimidate or improperly influence its officials”, without naming any particular individuals or states.

“At a time when the world should unite to end the terrible bloodshed in Gaza and seek justice for those unlawfully killed, injured, traumatised, or taken hostage, since October 7, it is distressing to see state officials threatening to retaliate against a court for pursuing international justice,” the UN experts said.

They highlight US and Israeli statements characterising potential actions by the ICC prosecutor as “lawless” and “disgraceful”, and saying that any arrest warrants issued by the court would be “an outrageous assault” and “an abomination”.

US media have reported that senior politicians are preparing possible retaliatory action, including sanctions on individuals who work for the court and efforts to de-fund the ICC, should arrest warrants be issued against Israeli officials, while the Israeli finance minister has threatened to withhold funds from the Palestinian Authority.

In their statement, the UN experts said: “A majority of the world’s countries support the court. The ICC’s role is more crucial than ever. Impeding the work of the court and its prosecutor will be detrimental, not only for accountability in the occupied Palestinian territory but for international justice as a whole.”

The experts, which include dozens of special rapporteurs and working group members, have been in touch with Israel and the United States to share their concerns.

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