(X/Int’l Criminal Court)

The International Criminal Court ordered an end to attempts to threaten its officials, days after the US and allies raised concerns that the court may issue arrest warrants for Israeli officials.

The office of the prosecutor “insists that all attempts to impede, intimidate or improperly influence its officers must cease immediately,” the ICC said via a post on X on Friday.

The court didn’t specify who is trying to interfere in its investigations and declined to comment further. Yet the statement came after Bloomberg reported fears in Washington that the ICC is weighing arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials and the leadership of Hamas over the two sides’ conduct of the war in Gaza.

“We’ve been really clear about the ICC investigation,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Monday in response to a question on the potential arrest warrants for Israelis. “We do not support it. We don’t believe that they have the jurisdiction.”

The worry in the US is that Israel would back out of cease-fire negotiations if the ICC proceeds with the warrants, according to people familiar with that matter. Talks about a pause in hostilities have been deadlocked for several weeks, but signs have recently emerged a deal may not be too far away.

A group of US senators held a virtual meeting with officials from the ICC on Wednesday to raise concerns about the possible arrest warrants, Axios reported late Thursday.

The ICC investigates and tries individuals charged with genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression. Israel hasn’t ratified the ICC’s statute and doesn’t recognize its jurisdiction but the “State of Palestine” has been a member of the court since 2015.

The ICC began an investigation into alleged crimes in the Palestinian territories of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2021. The office of Karim Khan, chief prosecutor of the ICC, said in November that the investigation “extends to the escalation of hostilities and violence” since Hamas invaded Israel on Oct. 7, triggering the ongoing conflict in Gaza in which tens of thousands have died.

Khan said in February he is deeply concerned about the conduct of Israeli forces, as well as of Hamas fighters holding Israeli hostages. Last year, the court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes related to the alleged abduction of children from Ukraine, a move which was dismissed by the Kremlin.

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