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Gaza war: Israeli PM, Hamas leader could be handed arrest warrants – ICC

Gaza war: Israeli PM, Hamas leader could be handed arrest warrants – ICC

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court announced on Monday that he is requesting arrest warrants for leaders of Israel and Hamas, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, over their actions during their seven-month war.

Karim Khan stated that he believes Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders – Yehia Sinwar, Mohammed Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh – are responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip and Israel.

A panel of three judges will review the evidence presented by the prosecutor and decide whether to issue the arrest warrants and proceed with the case.

As Israel is not a member of the court, Netanyahu and Gallant are not immediately at risk of prosecution even if the arrest warrants are issued. However, the announcement by Khan increases Israel’s isolation as it continues its actions in Gaza, and the threat of arrest may hinder the Israeli leaders’ ability to travel abroad.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz condemned the prosecutor’s decision as a historic disgrace and vowed to form a committee to fight against any such actions. He also stated that he would work with world leaders to prevent the enforcement of any arrest warrants on Israeli leaders.

Former military chief and member of Israel’s War Cabinet, Benny Gantz, defended Israel’s actions, emphasizing the country’s adherence to moral codes, respect for international law, and capability of investigating itself.

Hamas criticized the ICC prosecutor’s request to arrest its leaders, accusing the prosecutor of equating victims with perpetrators. The group asserted its right to resist Israeli occupation, including through armed resistance.

The whereabouts of Sinwar and Deif are unknown, while Haniyeh is based in Qatar and frequently travels in the region. The war in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict began in October, resulting in significant casualties and humanitarian crises in Gaza.

The ICC was established to prosecute individuals responsible for the world’s most heinous atrocities. Israel, the United States, Russia, and China are among the countries that do not accept the court’s jurisdiction over war crimes and other crimes.


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