Dutch investigation into threats against activist over ICC Palestine submission


Dutch prosecutors are investigating death threats against a lawyer working to provide information about possible Israeli war crimes in Palestinian territories, officials said Thursday.

Nada Kiswanson, the representative of the Palestinian group Al-Haq to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, has suffered “continuing death threats and intimidation” since earlier this year, Amnesty International said.

The ICC, the world’s only permanent war crimes court, has opened a preliminary inquiry into possible crimes by both sides in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian Authority sparked controversy when it joined the tribunal in January 2015, and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas last year visited the court with officials handing over files alleging war crimes during the 2014 Gaza war.

But Israel, which has not signed up to the ICC, has vehemently opposed the Palestinian attempt to trigger a full investigation into any war crimes.

“These threats against Nada Kiswanson are completely unacceptable and obstruct her in her work,” Amnesty said in a statement.

Dutch prosecutors confirmed to AFP they are taking reports of the threats “very seriously” and extra protection has been given to her as they “investigate various scenarios”.

It is believed to be the first time that threats have been made against someone working with the ICC in The Netherlands.

Officials from the ICC did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment.

Dutch media said Kiswanson has both Jordanian and Swedish nationalities.

She told the NRC daily that for months she “has received threatening phone calls at home” in The Hague and was also sent a bunch of “flowers accompanied by an intimidating message”.

The non-governmental Coalition for the ICC said Kiswanson had “reluctantly gone public” after months of intimidation, and called for the Dutch government to publicly condemn the threats.

“Throughout the world, there are increasing attacks against human rights defenders. Those striving to bring justice to all who suffer from genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes are crucial to the defence of human rights,” said CICC official William Pace.


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