Former Mossad chief threatens ICC chief counsel

Last Updated on May 29, 2024 8:02 am

Yossi Cohen, the former head of Israel’s foreign intelligence agency Mossad, threatened the chief counsel of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in a series of secret meetings. The Guardian’s investigation revealed that the threats were made in an attempt to pressure him to drop the war crimes investigation against Israel.

Former ICC counsel Fatou Bensouda decided to open a formal investigation into allegations that Israel is committing war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories. Yossi Cohen, the former head of the Mossad, contacted him for several years about this.

The investigation, which began in 2021, ended last week. This information came out at a time when Karim Khan, the successor of Fatau Bensouda, requested an arrest warrant against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for crimes committed in Israel’s ongoing war in Gaza.

The ICC’s chief counsel has applied for arrest warrants against Netanyahu and his defense minister, Yoav Galant, along with three Hamas leaders. Israel’s military and political leadership has long feared this move.

Yossi Cohen was involved in proceedings against ICC counsel while he was director of the Mossad. According to a senior Israeli official, his actions were approved from the highest levels of the country.

Another Israeli source familiar with the matter said the Mossad’s goal was to negotiate with Fatou Bensouda or enlist him as someone who would help meet Israel’s demands.

According to another third source, Yossi Cohen was acting as Netanyahu’s “informal messenger”.

At the time, Cohen, one of Netanyahu’s closest associates, was emerging as a political powerhouse. He personally spearheaded the involvement of the Mossad in the country’s nearly decade-long effort to undermine the court.

Four sources confirmed that Bensouda had informed several senior ICC officials of Cohen’s attempts to control him, despite concerns about Cohen’s continued threats.

Three of those sources were aware of Bensouda’s formal complaint to the ICC about the matter. They said Bensoudar said at the time that Cohen had repeatedly pressured him to proceed with an ICC criminal investigation into Palestine. According to comments made to ICC officials, Cohen told him, “You should help us and let us serve you.” You will not get involved in anything that may compromise your safety or that of your family.’

One of the people who spoke about Cohen’s activities said that Cohen had originally used the dastardly tactics as part of a final attempt to intimidate and influence Bensouda, but it had failed. They compared Cohen’s behavior to “persecution”.

The UK’s The Guardian Israeli magazine Plus 972 and the Hebrew language media Local Call together with this activity of Cohen brought up the investigative report. It is part of him. According to this investigative report, several Israeli intelligence agencies have been secretly ‘fighting’ the ICC for more than a decade.

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