In deciding to pursue an investigation of Israel, International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda met with a number of terror-tied organizations and groups promoting demonization campaigns targeting Israel. These non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are also cited in various ICC documents related to the investigation.

It appears that Bensouda exclusively met and replied upon groups representing the Palestinian narrative, which is reflected in the significant bias in her analysis.

Meetings with Biased Actors and Organizations

Bensouda met with the following representatives from terror-tied and/or delegitmization NGOs. There is no evidence of her office contacting or her personally meeting with any NGOs representing Israeli victims despite several groups filing materials with her office and seeking meetings with her. (See Appendix I for details about NGOs mentioned in this report.)

  • In December 2019, Al-Haq “attended the eighteenth session of the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the World Forum, in the Netherlands. During the week, Al-Haq made two separate and direct interventions to Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda… and engaged in meetings with staff from the Office of the Prosecutor and the Victims Outreach Unit” (emphasis added). Al-Haq official Susan Power stated, “one of our deepest concerns is the politicization in this report…we are very concerned that there is reference to a peace process and final status negotiations…these are ongoing crimes not final status negotiations…we would urge that this is the end of it and move to investigation. We urge you to open an investigation.”
  • According to PCHR, in December 2019, “Lawyer Raji Sourani, Director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)… delivered [a] speech[]at the annual General Assembly.” During his speech, Sourani addressed Bensouda: “we were very consistent in working with the ICC and your office, and we cooperated fully in providing full facts needed in this regard…we were able to bring you tens of witnesses over video conferences…Palestinian human rights organizations provided really significant material to your office.”
  • Al-Mezan joined Al-Haq and PCHR in their “interventions” and “meetings.”
  • In October 2019, Adalah participated in the “40th International for Human Rights FIDH general conference” in Taiwan. Adalah’s Facebook post notes that Bensouda also participated in the conference and “gave a presentation on justice and the ICC’s work.”

Adalah Administrative Director Fathiyya Hussein (right) with ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (Source: Adalah, October 24, 2019:

(Source: Al Mezan, “Al Mezan attends 40th FIDH Congress in Taiwan,” October 22, 2019:

  • On February 19, 2019, she met with Human Rights Watch (HRW) Executive Director Ken Roth. A tweet from the official ICC account stated that civil society “continues to play and indispensable role in promoting the fight against #impunity for #atrocity crimes.” On September 26, 2019, Bensouda met with Human Rights Watch (HRW) Director of International Justice Program Richard Dicker.

HRW Executive Director Ken Roth with ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (Source: Int’l Criminal Court, February 17, 2019, Twitter:

Al-Haq Director Shawan Jabarin with ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (Source: PCHR, “Investigate Persecution Arising out of Ongoing Gaza Closure, Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Urge ICC Prosecutor,” November 22, 2016:

  • In November 2015, Al-Haq Director Shawan Jabarin presented a “confidential communication” to Bensouda. The “communication” is authored by PCHR, Al Mezan, Al-Haq, and Al Dameer.

Al-Haq Director Shawan Jabarin (second from left) with ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. (Source: Al-Haq, “Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Deliver Submission to the International Criminal Court on Alleged Israeli War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity during 2014 Gaza offensive,” November 23, 2015:

Al-Haq Director Shawan Jabarin handing ICC Prosecutor Bensouda a “confidential communication” submitted by Al-Haq, Al Mezan, Al Dameer, and PCHR. (Source: PCHR, “Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Deliver Submission to the International Criminal Court on Alleged Israeli, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity during 2014 Gaza offensive,” November 23, 2015:

Meetings with Repressive Regimes

Bensouda also met with a number of government officials from repressive regimes. For example, on September 22, 2017, Bensouda met with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif at the UN General Assembly regarding “strengthening #MENA-ICC engagement.”

On July 9, 2017, Bensouda traveled to Qatar and met with Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdurrahman Al-Thani. During the meeting, the two discussed “cooperation between the State of Qatar and the Office of the Prosecutor as well as the raising of awareness about international criminal justice and international humanitarian law.”

Bensouda has also met with Palestinian officials, including numerous meetings with Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki and President Mahmoud Abbas. Although in a January 13, 2020 interview with the Times of Israel, Bensouda states “My office has not met with any individuals identified as representing Hamas or the PFLP,” a December 30, 2019 article in the Jerusalem Post notes that the ICC met with officials from the Hamas and PFLP terror group, including “Ghazi Hammad…one of Hamas’ leaders” and “Khalida Jarrar [] represent[ing] the PFLP.” Jarrar was indicted in November 2019 of heading the PFLP in the West Bank since June 2016.

Reliance on Non-Credible, Non-Legal Sources

The ICC has also relied heavily on these NGOs in her various reports and briefs. In a number of instances, these documents uncritically repeats claims contained in non-credible UN reports that originated from these same NGOs.

Additionally, Bensouda’s December 2019 brief to the Court, seeking jurisdiction to open an investigation against Israel, relies almost exclusively on non-legally binding, highly controversial resolutions from the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), as well as reports from the Special Committee and the UN CERIPP committee – bodies that disproportionately single out Israel and whose activities clearly meet the IHRA definition of antisemitism. Her filings completely erase the politicized context surrounding these resolutions and reports.

For example: