Several independent UN experts denounced on Friday attacks made against the International Criminal Court (ICC), particularly from Israel and the United States, which “promote a culture of impunity.”

“It is distressing to see State officials threatening to retaliate against a Court for pursuing international justice,” a statement by the experts said on Friday.

This came “at a time when the world should unite to end the terrible bloodshed in Gaza and seek justice for those unlawfully killed, injured, traumatised, or taken hostage, since October 7.”

Mandated by the Human Rights Council, the experts are part of the largest independent body in the UN human rights system but do not speak on behalf of the UN.

Last week, the ICC itself launched a warning against “individuals who threaten to retaliate” against the tribunal or its staff, saying that such actions might constitute an “offence against its administration of justice.”

The caution came after reports suggested that the ICC was preparing to issue arrest warrants to members of the Israeli government – which could include Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – in connection with Israel’s military operations in Gaza.

Netanyahu said that a war crimes indictment of Israeli officials would be “an outrage of historic proportions,” alleging that the ICC was “trying to put Israel in the dock.”

The ICC opened a probe in 2021 into Israel, as well as Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups, over possible war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The investigation now “extends to the escalation of hostilities and violence since the (Hamas) attacks that took place on October 7, 2023” in Israel.

The ICC is the world’s only independent court set up to probe the gravest offences by individual suspects, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

With AFP