ICC probing Ukraine, Gaza war crimes defies threats

The court in The Hague, Netherlands, has been investigating the Israel Defence Forces and the Palestinian organisation Hamas for alleged war crimes…reports Asian Lite News

The International Criminal Court prosecutor, Karim Khan, asserted his resolve on Tuesday to continue investigating possible war crimes in Ukraine and Gaza despite facing threats.

The court in The Hague, Netherlands, has been investigating the Israel Defence Forces and the Palestinian organisation Hamas for alleged war crimes in the Palestinian Territories – the Gaza Strip, the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem – since 2021, and also in Ukraine.

During a UN Security Council meeting focused on his probe into war crimes in Libya, Khan faced criticism from the Russian and Libyan ambassadors. They accused him of inaction regarding alleged Israeli aggression against Hamas in Gaza, according to news agency AFP.

Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzia hinted at a potential impact on the ICC’s effectiveness due to a proposed US Congressional bill to sanction ICC officials investigating US and allied actions, it was reported.

In response, Khan highlighted the threats against him and his office, emphasizing their determination to proceed with their investigations regardless of intimidation tactics.

Russia had previously included Khan on its wanted list after the ICC issued an arrest warrant against President Vladimir Putin for his role in deporting Ukrainian children to Russia during the conflict.

The ICC prosecutor’s office expressed concern over threats to its independence and impartiality, cautioning against any actions that could undermine the administration of justice.

This warning came amid speculation, fueled by US and Israeli media reports, regarding potential ICC warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leaders.

Despite facing powerful entities, Khan reaffirmed the ICC’s commitment to upholding justice and serving victims.

He emphasised the importance of abiding by the law with integrity and independence, underscoring the court’s duty to stand up against wrongdoing, even in the face of significant opposition.

Khan’s statements underscore the challenges faced by international bodies like the ICC in carrying out their mandates while navigating geopolitical tensions and resistance from powerful actors.

Palestine has been a state party since 2015. In 2021, the court determined that it also has jurisdiction over the territories occupied since 1967, such as the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Neither the US nor Israel recognise the court.

Investigations are also underway into acts of violence committed by Israeli settlers in the West Bank.

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