Anti-Israel ICC prosecutor sees ‘reset’ under Biden

Fatou Bensouda has made the pursuit of the Jewish state a hallmark of her tenure at the ICC, resulting in accusations that she politicized the body to target Israel.

By World Israel News and AP

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) said Monday that the global tribunal’s relationship with the United States, which shunned the international body based on alleged rampant anti-Israel under former President Donald Trump’s administration — is undergoing a “reset” under his successor, Joe Biden.

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda made the comments in an interview with The Associated Press, on the day Biden was meeting NATO allies in Brussels to reaffirm Washington’s commitment to the military alliance.

Bensouda has made the pursuit of the Jewish state a hallmark of her tenure at the ICC, resulting in accusations that she has not served in an impartial manner at the international body.

Bensouda spoke to AP at the court’s headquarters in The Hague on the eve of leaving office after her nine-year term as the ICC’s chief prosecutor. Her successor, British lawyer Karim Khan, takes office on Wednesday.

The Trump administration hit Bensouda with sanctions for pressing ahead with investigations into the U.S. and its allies, notably Israel, for alleged war crimes.

She was subjected to a travel ban in March 2019, and 18 months later a freeze on her U.S.-based assets.

Biden lifted the sanctions in April but Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed that Washington still strongly disagreed with some actions by the court.

The ICC’s pursuit of the Jewish state could subject Israeli officials and military officers to arrest warrants, while legitimizing the BDS’ campaign to demonize the Jewish state.

In March, international law expert Professor Eugene Kontorovich of George Mason University told JNS that the ICC’s investigation of Israel shows the extent to which the body has been politicized to target Israel.

“The decision has no basis in law or precedent; rather, the ICC has become just another anti-Israel international organization. But it is important to remember that the Palestinian Authority brought this about, in contradiction of all their commitments under Oslo. Israel cannot be expected by the Biden Administration to negotiate with the P.A. while under an investigation instigated by the P.A.,” he said.

This week, Bensouda said she welcomed the U.S.’ change of tone under Biden.

Bensouda launched the politically charged investigation into alleged crimes by both Israel and Hamas dating back to the mid-2014 war between the Jewish state and the terror group. Israel has harshly condemned the probe.