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International Court Stands Firm Against ‘Threats’ During Israel-Hamas Arrest Deliberations

Hostages' families at international court (Credits: CTV News)

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has pushed back against “threats” despite intense pressure from pro-Israel US lawmakers and the Biden administration, who are urging the court to refrain from issuing arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas officials over their conduct in the October 7 attack and subsequent war in Gaza.

In a statement posted on the social platform X, the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor emphasized its independence and impartiality, stating that “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 statement did not specify the source of the threats.

The ICC, which came into force in 2002, has jurisdiction over crimes including genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression. However, neither the US nor Israel are among its 123 state members.

The International Criminal Court (Credits: Britannica)

US lawmakers, including Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), have argued that Israel should not be investigated by the ICC, citing its “comparable system” of justice and concerns that prosecutions could set a precedent for the prosecution of American officials.

The White House has also opposed the ICC’s investigation, with press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stating, “We do not support it. We don’t believe that they have the jurisdiction.”

When asked about the ICC’s statement on “threats,” Jean-Pierre reiterated the administration’s opposition to any threats or intimidation against public officials, including ICC officials. Still, he emphasized that their position on the investigation remains unchanged.

International court pushes back on ‘threats’ as it weighs Israel-Hamas (Credits: The Hill)

The ICC’s statement comes in the middle of reports that arrest warrants may be issued for Israeli officials for preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza and pursuing an excessively harsh response to the October 7 attack.

The court’s decision could have significant implications for international justice and the accountability of nations and individuals for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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