Pro-Palestine demonstrations held outside the International Criminal Court headquarters in the Hague.
By Global News Service
At least 184 scholars, lawyers, and experts in international law and politics have expressed grave concerns over the integrity of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), in an open letter on December 6.
In the letter addressed to the assembly of State Parties of the ICC, the academics raised the concern that the international court is witnessing the erosion of “impartiality and non-discrimination” under chief prosecutor Karim A. A. Khan. The letter pointed to “considerable delays, lack of responsiveness, as well as policies of understaffing and under-resourcing,” contributing to a renewed bias against the Global South.
Citing Article 42(5) of the Rome Statute, the letter said, “Neither the Prosecutor nor a Deputy Prosecutor shall engage in any activity which is likely to interfere with his or her prosecutorial functions or to affect confidence in his or her independence.”
The Prosecutor has described the Palestinian population and victims in Gaza as civilians “caught in the crossfire,” seemingly concluding that the Israeli military’s conduct of hostilities has respected the principles of “distinction” and “proportionality”. “This framing has formed the core of Israel’s official discourse not only since [October 7] but also during the 2014 Gaza War,” the letter said.
“The Court announced on [November 30, 2023] Prosecutor Khan’s visit to Israel at the invitation of victims [of October 7]… In doing that, the Prosecutor has neglected the longstanding pleas from UN special rapporteurs, scholars and international lawyers, NGOs, and Palestinian victims who have ardently requested the Prosecutor’s visit to Palestine and meetings in the Hague for years,” the letter said.