Israeli spy chief allegedly threatened ICC prosecutor over war crimes inquiry

Tehran, IRNA - The former Director of Mossad, the national intelligence agency of Israel, reportedly threatened the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in a series of secret meetings aimed at pressuring her to abandon a war crimes investigation.

The Guardian has revealed this information, shedding light on the covert actions of Mossad's former Director Yossi Cohen in his attempts to influence Fatou Bensouda, the former prosecutor of the ICC.

The meetings between Yossi Cohen and Fatou Bensouda took place over several years prior to her decision to initiate a formal investigation into alleged war crimes against humanity in the occupied Palestinian territories.

This investigation, which was launched in 2021, reached a climax last week when Karim Khan, Bensouda's successor, announced that an arrest warrant for Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was being sought due to Israel's actions during the Gaza war.

Israel's military and political establishment had long feared such an outcome in the ICC case, which dates back to 2015 when Bensouda initiated a preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine.

The purpose of her inquiry was to assess the allegations of crimes committed by individuals in Gaza and the West Bank.

The Zionist regime vehemently opposed Bensouda's decision, as it feared that Israeli citizens could face prosecution for their involvement in operations within Palestinian territories.

The Israeli government openly expressed its opposition to the ICC and refused to recognize its authority, with some ministers going as far as promising to dismantle the court.

Between 2019 and 2020, Mossad actively sought compromising information on Bensouda and even targeted her family members. The objective was either to compromise the prosecutor or recruit her as someone who would cooperate with Israel's demands.

Sources confirm that Bensouda shared details of Yossi Cohen's attempts to sway her with a small group of senior ICC officials.

Concerns about the increasingly persistent and threatening nature of Cohen's behavior led to these disclosures.

It was alleged that Cohen told Bensouda, "You should help us and let us take care of you. You don't want to be getting into things that could compromise your security or that of your family."

Individuals briefed on Cohen's activities described his tactics against Bensouda as "despicable" and akin to "stalking".

Mossad not only showed a keen interest in Bensouda's family, but also obtained transcripts of secret recordings of her husband. Israeli officials then attempted to use this material to discredit the prosecutor.

These revelations form part of an upcoming investigation by The Guardian, +972 Magazine (an Israeli-Palestinian publication), and the Hebrew-language outlet Local Call, which aims to expose the covert decade-long "war" waged by multiple Israeli intelligence agencies against the ICC.

The disclosure of Mossad's efforts to influence Bensouda coincides with the recent warning from the current chief prosecutor, Karim Khan. He emphasized that any attempts to impede, intimidate, or improperly influence ICC officials will not be tolerated.

According to legal experts and former ICC officials, the actions taken by Mossad to threaten or pressure Bensouda could potentially constitute offenses against the administration of justice under Article 70 of the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the court.

While an ICC spokesperson declined to comment on specific allegations, they acknowledged that the prosecutor's office had experienced "several forms of threats and communications that could be viewed as attempts to unduly influence its activities."

Khan's decision to seek arrest warrants against Netanyahu and Gallant last week was the first instance of the court taking action against leaders of a country closely allied with the US and Europe. The alleged crimes, including directing attacks on civilians and using starvation as a method of warfare, are connected to the eight-month war in Gaza.


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