The Jerusalem Post

Bensouda steps down today; successor, Karim Khan, to decide Israel’s ICC fate


Internatio­nal Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda will step down on Wednesday after a nine-year term. She will be succeeded by British-Muslim internatio­nal lawyer Karim Khan, who will be left to determine Israel’s fate in the criminal probe that Bensouda opened in March.

Bensouda’s decision to open a full war-crimes investigat­ion against Israel relating to the 2014 Gaza War, the settlement enterprise and the 2018 Gaza border conflict came after a legal battle dating back to January 2015.

The outgoing chief prosecutor also threatened Israel and

Hamas with new war-crimes charges during the May 10-21 conflict.

Still, Bensouda has strongly hinted that her office might close the probe against the IDF as the Israeli military performs its own investigat­ions of alleged war crimes.

However, Israeli lawyers are much more concerned that her office will go after the settlement enterprise.

Views on Karim Khan are mixed. He has been associated with Muslim human-rights groups and Pakistani officials, which would prejudice him against Israel. But he has also said the ICC is overextend­ed and should only fight battles it can win and for which it has the resources to fight.

Khan has defended alleged war criminals from Kenya and has represente­d victims of ISIS.

Bensouda herself is a Gambian Muslim who sometimes wears traditiona­l African dress. But she is equally comfortabl­e in a business suit.

During a Jerusalem Post interview in The Hague in 2016, all indication­s were that the Israeli-Palestinia­n conflict was not a major issue for her.

Though she ruled against Israel in March by opening a full war-crimes probe, she appeared to be acting as part of a group of internatio­nalists who focus on getting justice for civilians

 ??  ?? KARIM KHAN (Michael Kooren/Reuters)
KARIM KHAN (Michael Kooren/Reuters)

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