10 May 2024, 23:25

UN experts denounce 'distressing' attacks against ICC

GENEVA, May  10, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Several independent UN experts on Friday

denounced attacks made against the International Criminal Court (ICC),
particularly from Israel and the United States, which "promote a culture of

"It is distressing to see State officials threatening to retaliate against
a Court for pursuing international justice," a statement by the experts said

This came "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".

Mandated by the Human Rights Council, the experts are part of the largest
independent body in the UN human rights system but do not speak on behalf of
the UN.

Last week, the ICC itself launched a warning against "individuals who
threaten to retaliate" against the tribunal or its staff saying such actions
might constitute an "offence against its administration of justice".

The caution came after reports suggested the ICC was preparing to issue
arrest warrants to members of the Israeli government -- which could include
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- in connection with Israel's military
operations in Gaza.

Netanyahu said that a war crimes indictment of Israeli officials would be
"an outrage of historic proportions", alleging that the ICC was "trying to put
Israel in the dock".

The ICC opened a probe in 2021 into Israel, as well as Hamas and other
armed Palestinian groups, over possible war crimes in the occupied Palestinian

The investigation now "extends to the escalation of hostilities and
violence since the (Hamas) attacks that took place on October 7, 2023" in

The unprecedented attacks resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people,
mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Militants also seized hostages, of whom Israel estimates 128 remain in
Gaza, including 36 who the military says are dead.

Israel's retaliatory offensive has killed at least 34,943 people in Gaza,
mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory's health

The ICC is the world's only independent court set up to probe the gravest
offences by individual suspects, including genocide, war crimes and crimes
against humanity.

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