Former Mossad Chief Allegedly Threatened ICC Prosecutor Over War Crimes Investigation

Wed May 29 2024
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HAGUE: The former head of Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence agency, Yossi Cohen, allegedly threatened Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), to abandon a war crimes investigation.

This covert contact took place in the years leading up to Bensouda’s decision to open a formal investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in occupied Palestinian territories. Launched in 2021, this investigation reached a significant milestone when Bensouda’s successor, Karim Khan, announced the pursuit of an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the country’s conduct in its war in Gaza.

Cohen, a close ally of Netanyahu, led Mossad’s involvement in a nearly decade-long campaign to undermine the ICC. An Israeli source briefed on the operation against Bensouda stated that the Mossad aimed to compromise or coerce the prosecutor into cooperation with Israel’s demands. Four sources confirmed that Bensouda had informed senior ICC officials about Cohen’s increasingly persistent and threatening behaviour, including a direct threat to her security and that of her family.

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