ICC seeks arrest warrants for Isreali PM Netanyahu, Hamas

Karim Khan, the chief prosecutor of the international criminal court, has said he is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his defence minister Yoav Gallant. He similarly seeks the same treatment for Hamas leaders.

Karim Khan said his office had applied to the world court’s pre-trial chamber for arrest warrants for the military and political leaders on both sides for crimes committed during Hamas’s 7 October attack and the ensuing war in Gaza.

He named Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas chief in the Gaza Strip, and Mohammed Deif, the commander of its military wing, considered to be the masterminds of the 7 October assault, as well as Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of the group’s political bureau, who is based in Qatar, as wanted for crimes of extermination, murder, hostage-taking, rape, sexual assault and torture.

Netanyahu and Gallant are accused of extermination, causing starvation as a method of war, the denial of humanitarian relief supplies and deliberately targeting civilians.

“The world was shocked on 7 October when people were ripped from their homes, from their bedrooms in different kibbutzim … people have suffered enormously,” Khan told CNN on Monday. “We have a variety of evidence to support the applications we’ve submitted to the judges.”

“These acts demand accountability,” Khan’s office said in a statement.

Israel’s foreign minister, Israel Katz, said the chief prosecutor’s decision was “a historic disgrace that will be remembered forever”, and a special committee would be formed to “fight back” and work with world leaders to ensure that any such warrants were not enforced on Israel’s leadership.

The Guardian, in its story, wrote that there is no imminent likelihood of prosecution. But that the ICC warrants could put Israeli officials at risk of arrest in other countries, further deepening the country’s growing international isolation over its conduct in the war in Gaza.

About 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed on 7 October, and about 35,000 people have been killed in the war in Gaza, the newspaper wrote quoting the Palestinian health ministry.

Khan made clear he was aware of the historical weight and potential ramifications of his unprecedented decision in a lengthy statement at The Hague on Monday.

“If we do not demonstrate our willingness to apply the law equally, if it is seen as being applied selectively, we will be creating the conditions for its collapse,” he said.

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“Now, more than ever, we must collectively demonstrate that international humanitarian law, the foundational baseline for human conduct during conflict, applies to all individuals and applies equally across the situations addressed by my office and the court.

“This is how we will prove, tangibly, that the lives of all human beings have equal value.”




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