Israel Likely to Bring Up Concerns over Possible ICC Probe with Biden
Story Code : 912412
“The outgoing administration sanctioned the ICC, and we supported this pressure,” the Jerusalem Post cited an Israeli official with knowledge of the matter as saying on Sunday, adding, “This will be one of the issues we are eager to raise with the incoming administration.”
Last year, the administration of Donald Trump authorized sanctions and additional visa restrictions against the Hague-based tribunal personnel probing whether American forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan.
Referring to the ICC investigation into the US war crimes in Afghanistan, the official said, “We would hope that we can find common ground with the incoming administration.”
Neither Biden nor senior members of his administration have announced what their position will be on the issue.
In December, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that a five-year preliminary examination of the “situation in the state of Palestine” had provided her with "reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed" by Israel.
A decision to open the probe has been suspended since December 2019 to avoid a confrontation with the Trump administration, according to reports.
Palestine was accepted as an ICC member in 2015, three years after signing the court's founding Rome Statute, based on its "observer state" status at the United Nations.
Both Israel and the US have refused to sign up to the ICC, which was set up in 2002 to be the only global tribunal trying the world's worst crimes, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Both have claimed they have credible legal systems that can properly adjudicate human rights violations which make ICC intervention dispensable.
KAN News reported Sunday that Israel fears that the Biden administration will lift the sanctions imposed on the ICC, and the court will open a probe into the war crimes committed by Israel.
"Such an investigation would have broad implications for many high-level Israeli political and military officials, who could be subjected to international arrest warrants issued by members of the tribunal,” the broadcaster said.
Nearly 2,200 Palestinians, including 577 children, were killed during the 2014 war on Gaza. Over 11,100 others, including nearly 3,380 children, 2,088 women and 410 elderly civilians, were also injured in the 50-day military aggression.
Israel Hayom reported that Tel Aviv will ask the Biden administration to replace Bensouda, whose term as chief prosecutor ends in June, with someone friendlier to the regime.