ICC prosecutor calls for end to intimidation of staff, statement says

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan speaks during an interview with Reuters

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The International Criminal Court's prosecutor's office called on Friday for an end to what it called intimidation of its staff, saying such threats could constitute an offence against the world's permanent war crimes court.

In the statement posted on social media platform X, the ICC prosecutor's office said all attempts to impede, intimidate or improperly influence its officials must cease immediately. It added that the Rome Statute, which outlines the ICC's structure and areas of jurisdiction, prohibits these actions.

The statement, which named no specific cases, followed Israeli and American criticism of the ICC's investigation into alleged war crimes committed during the Israel-Hamas conflict in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave.

Neither Israel nor its main ally the U.S. are members of the court, and do not recognise its jurisdiction over the Palestinian territories. The court can prosecute individuals for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Last week Israel voiced concern that the ICC could be preparing to issue arrest warrants for government officials on charges related to the conduct of its war against Hamas in Gaza.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz said Israel expected the ICC to "refrain from issuing arrest warrants against senior Israeli political and security officials", adding: "We will not bow our heads or be deterred and will continue to fight."

On Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said any ICC decisions would not affect Israel's actions but would set a dangerous precedent.

In October, ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan said it had jurisdiction over any potential war crimes committed by Hamas fighters in Israel and by Israeli forces in Gaza, which has been ruled by Hamas since 2007.

A White House spokesperson said on Monday the ICC had no jurisdiction "in this situation, and we do not support its investigation".

(Reporting by Charlotte Van Campenhout; editing by Mark Heinrich)