The International Criminal Court in The Hague says it has opened a formal investigation into allegations by four people who say they were subjected to sexual abuse by a court staff member working in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The war crimes court said Friday it is "profoundly concerned by these grave allegations" and had taken steps to protect the alleged victims.
It said the investigation was aimed at "establishing the facts underlying the allegations and fairly determining any possible responsibilities."
It is not clear whether the allegations will lead to a prosecution, and if so, where it would take place.
The court said it would turn the inquiry's findings over to ICC "judges and relevant parties to the proceedings concerned" -- presumably meaning, legal authorities in Congo.