Israel cautiously welcomes new ICC prosecutor

February 14, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Israel cautiously welcomed the election of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) new prosecutor while underscoring the need for reforms in the body.

Karim Khan Photo: U.N.

The Assembly of States Parties elected on Saturday Karim Khan as the next ICC Prosecutor. He will assume his post on June 16.

Member of Knesset Michal Cotler-Wunsh, who is in charge of coordinating the Knesset’s activity vis-à-vis the ICC in The Hague, congratulated Kahn on “this important appointment.”

“The election of a new prosecutor brings with it the ability and responsibility for reform that is imperative to the ICC fulfilling its intended mandate as a court of last resort for those most in need,” she stated.

In Hebrew, she highlighted Khan’s concern for the Yazidis human rights and said that he “illustrated Martin Luther King’s legacy that ‘the moral spectrum is long but is inclined towards justice.’”

Khan is a British citizen of Pakistani origin.

Of the candidates who were up for the appointment, Khan is considered least hostile towards Israel, and so Jerusalem can show some satisfaction following his election.

Israel is in the midst of a massive diplomatic clash with the ICC after it ruled earlier this month that it has jurisdiction over “Palestine,” a decision that could pave the way toward a war crime probe against Israel.

Israel has emphasized that it completely rejects the ICC’s ruling and considers it “a fundamentally wrong decision.”

Israel’s position is that the ICC lacks any jurisdiction on this matter because that no sovereign Palestinian state exists nor does any territory belonging to such an entity. Similarly, ​​​​Israel has not joined the Roman Statute.

Several other countries, including the US, Canada, Germany, Hungary, and Australia, have expressed similar legal and diplomatic positions.

Israel will now have to wait and see if Khan continues outgoing prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s anti-Israel stance or if he changes course.

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