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Lawyer aiding Palestinians at ICC claims Israel threatening her

Nada Kiswanson alleges intimidation and death threats over involvement in world court inquiry into 2014 Gaza War; Israel calls charge ‘preposterous’

The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands (Vincent van Zeijst/Wikimedia Commons/File)
The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands (Vincent van Zeijst/Wikimedia Commons/File)

THE HAGUE — A lawyer who allegedly received death threats for working with the International Criminal Court on possible Israeli war crimes against Palestinians Monday accused Israel of trying to intimidate her and urged the Dutch government to intervene.

“It is a very scary situation and the ones that are contacting me want me to feel unsafe, afraid,” Nada Kiswanson, who works for the Palestinian rights group al-Haq, told AFP.

“I think that Israel is behind these threats or in some way is involved in them. It has been made very clear to me that these threats are only because of my work.”

The Israeli government has dismissed the allegations, describing them as “preposterous.”

The Dutch prosecution service is investigating the allegations, and Kiswanson, who lives with her husband and young daughter in The Hague where the war crimes tribunal is based, has been given special protection.

The threats were “a clear political interference” in the work of the ICC which must “be met by a political intervention by the Dutch government,” she said.

“The Dutch government has a role to play in saying this is not tolerated in our territory,” she added.

Kiswanson, who has joint Jordanian and Swedish nationality, said she had been receiving threats since the start of the year by phone, email, flyers and even flowers left at her door.

“Those who have contacted me have left a signature, a name they have identified themselves with, so that I always know, even if the message is subtle.”

The Palestinian Authority sparked controversy when it joined the ICC in January 2015. Palestinian officials have urged the court to investigate alleging war crimes during the 2014 Gaza conflict.

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.

But Israel, which is not a signatory to the ICC, has vehemently opposed any bid to open a full investigation into any alleged war crimes.

It is apparently the first time that someone working with the ICC in The Netherlands has been allegedly threatened. But another Palestinian group, Al Mezan based in the Gaza Strip, said over the weekend that “attacks have intensified” also on its staff reporting to the ICC.

A spokesman for the ICC told AFP the court “took seriously these threats” and was liaising with the Dutch authorities.

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