‘Alleged Israeli Espionage Against ICC’ – Dutch Lawmakers Demand Probe

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. (Photo: ICC Website)

The motion, citing international media reports, requested that the three ministries, along with Dutch intelligence services, look into Israel’s alleged espionage and intimidation efforts against the ICC.

Dutch lawmakers have called for a probe into allegations of espionage and intimidation by Israel to obstruct International Criminal Court (ICC) investigations into Israeli officials, reported the Anadolu news agency.

A written question submitted by House of Representatives member Kati Piri urged ministers to investigate the alleged activities, the report said. Piri is a member of the Green Left-Labor Party alliance, led by former European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans.

A query, which received backing from other Green Left and Labor Party members, was directed at Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot, Interior and Kingdom Relations Minister Hugo de Jonge and Justice and Security Minister Dilan Yesilgoz-Zegerius.

Israel’s Secret Campaign Against ICC Revealed – Surveillance, Hacking, Intimidation

The motion, citing international media reports, requested that the three ministries, along with Dutch intelligence services, look into Israel’s alleged espionage and intimidation efforts against the ICC.

The efforts are reportedly aimed at disrupting investigations into war crimes committed in Palestinian territories.

The British newspaper The Guardian, citing informed sources, revealed last week, that Israel conducted a nearly decade-long secret campaign against the ICC.

Details of Israel’s campaign to thwart the ICC’s inquiry were reportedly uncovered through interviews with more than two dozen current and former Israeli intelligence officers, government officials, senior ICC figures, diplomats, and lawyers familiar with the case and Israel’s efforts to undermine it.

‘Surveillance and Threats’

Israel’s campaign reportedly involved using intelligence agencies to “surveil, hack, pressure, smear and allegedly threaten senior ICC staff in an effort to derail the court’s inquiries.”

According to the investigation, which was conducted by The Guardian, the Israeli-based magazines +972 and Local Call, Israeli intelligence intercepted communications of numerous ICC officials, including Karim Khan and his predecessor Fatou Bensouda, capturing phone calls, messages, emails, and documents.

“The surveillance was ongoing in recent months, providing Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, with advance knowledge of the prosecutor’s intentions,” the report stated.

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Duty as Host State

The motion by the Dutch lawmakers stressed that as the host state of the ICC, which is based in The Hague, the Netherlands has a duty to prevent any attacks or threats against the international court.

It questioned how Dutch authorities plan to ensure that ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan and Court judges can operate independently and without interference, said the report.

According to The Guardian, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu closely followed these intelligence operations against the ICC, described by one intelligence source as “being ‘obsessed’ with intercepts about the case.”

The motion highlighted an incident involving former ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, whose home in The Hague was searched by two individuals believed to be working for Israeli intelligence.

Bensouda had reported the incident to Dutch authorities, said Anadolu.

Piri’s motion also requested that the ministers disclose the number of complaints received from the ICC, Palestinian non-governmental organizations and individuals about intimidation, bribery, blackmail or espionage attempts by Israel or other countries since 2015.

Intended to Sabotage

According to Anadolu, the motion asserted that Israel’s alleged espionage activities are intended to sabotage the ICC’s investigations into crimes committed by Israeli officials in Palestinian territories.

It raised concern about whether witnesses to the crimes might feel intimidated to testify before the ICC and questioned whether the Netherlands could adequately protect witnesses and victims.

The motion further called on Dutch ministers to clarify their stance on the Israeli government’s designation of six Palestinian human rights groups as “terrorist organizations” in October 2021.

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It also requested an assessment of the designations and of allegations against UNRWA, the UN Agency for Palestine Refugees.

Furthermore, it demands an investigation into the possible involvement of Israel’s diplomatic mission in The Hague in alleged intimidation activities against the ICC.

“Will you summon the Israeli ambassador to demand an explanation and convey the message that espionage and intimidation campaigns on Dutch soil are unacceptable?” it asked.

It called for an investigation into whether Israel has committed crimes aimed at obstructing the administration of justice, referring to Article 70 of the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty, which regulates crimes against the administration of justice.

Arrest Warrants

Karim Khan, who succeeded Bensouda in June 2021, inherited the Palestine inquiry.

“As he took office, other investigations (…) competed for his attention,” The Guardian reported. October 7 however, changed the situation. Khan visited Gaza, the occupied West Bank, and southern Israel, issuing statements warning Israel against military actions.

In February 2024, Khan announced he was seeking arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Gallant alongside three Hamas leaders for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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Over 36,000 Killed

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 36,379 Palestinians have been killed, and 82,407 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 11,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

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The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’.

(Anadolu, PC)

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