Israel’s aim to sway ex-ICC prosecutor revealed

Jun 12, 2024, 11:41 AM | Article By: Alhagie Mbye, The Point’s Int’l Correspondent

Fatou Bensouda, current Gambian High Commissioner to the UK, and former International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor, is currently at the centre of a high profile and extraordinary reports of “pressure, sway, influence and force …” against her while working with the Court at The Hague.

Even though the comprehensive and wide-ranging report was first published by the respected Guardian newspaper in London, international outlets in United States, Europe, the Middle East and several other parts of the world also intensely recounted the matter with urgency.

The Gambia-born lawyer, fondly called Fatou Bom, who also served as Attorney General and Minister for Justice from August 1998 under the brutal dictatorship of Yahya Jammeh, held the post until she was personally dismissed by Jammeh in March 2000.

The Point has already contacted Mrs Bensouda for comments.

While working at the ICC, it is alleged that the Israel Foreign Intelligence Agency, known as Mossad, “threatened and pressured” her to abandon a war crimes investigation against Israeli officials.

During the period, the ICC, had formally opened an international investigation over allegation of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Despite the fact that Karim Khan, Mrs Bensouda’s successor equally announced that he was pursuing an arrest warrant for the same Israeli officials due to the current crisis in Gaza, the ICC is yet to complete its work due to allegation of similar threats.

Notwithstanding, the widespread and extensive report revealed “operation against Mrs Bensouda … to compromise the Prosecutor or enlist her as someone who would cooperate with Israel’s demands…”

It also mentioned that Mrs Bensouda personally briefed a small group of senior ICC officials about Cohen’s (Mossad Director) “attempts to sway her” regarding the issue.

Cohen, it added threatened Mrs Bensouda and said “you should help us and let us take care of you… You don’t want to be getting into things that could compromise your security or that of your family”.

The Mossad, according to the report, took a profound interest in Bensouda’s family members and even “obtained transcripts of secret recordings of her husband … in an attempt to use the material to discredit her”.

Nevertheless, it was alleged that the Mossad was able to receive support from Africa including certain Head of States including Joseph Kabila, former President of the Democratic Republic of Congo as “a supporting role in the plot” against Mrs Bensouda.

The tactic against Mrs Besouda was described as “despicable … to intimidate, influence and stalking” and demanded an international probe.

While pursing the same charges, the current Chief Prosecutor, Karim Khan, a British lawyer, stressed that he would “not hesitate to prosecute attempts to impede, intimidate or improperly influence ICC officials.

It is important to recall that the Point had reported in April 2021, “punitive sanctions” implemented by former U.S. President Donald J. Trump, against Mrs Bensouda, and other key officials as “retaliatory measures” against initiating the same investigation.

During the time, E.U. officials had reacted swiftly and demanded an “immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all sanctions and other threats’’ against the Court officials.

However, when he was elected, Joe Biden current U.S. President, lifted Trump’s sanctions on Mrs Bensouda and other ICC officials.

For additional clarification, Mrs Bensouda, was contacted by this correspondent on 30/05/2024 formally requesting that “… we would be grateful if you could please confirm or deny these reports …”

However, Mrs Bensouda, who hardly speaks to the Gambian press is yet to give any formal or informal response.

On its part, following the massive revelations, the Israel government flatly denied the allegations as baseless.