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ICC chief prosecutor seeks arrest warrant for Netanyahu and Hamas leaders

Israel’s PM and defense minister as well as Hamas leaders, are suspected of committing war crimes, Karim Khan has said

The International Criminal Court is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Hague-based court’s chief prosecutor Karim Khan has announced.

There are “reasonable grounds to believe” that the wanted persons are responsible for “war crimes and crimes against humanity” in Gaza and in Israel, Khan said in a statement on Monday.

Along with Netanyahu, the ICC is seeking to arrest Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. The wanted Hamas officials include the Palestinian armed group’s leader Yahya Sinwar, the commander of its military wing –al-Qassam Brigades – Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, and the chief of Hamas’ Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh, the prosecutor’s statement reads.

According to Khan, Netanyahu and Gallant are suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza such as intentional attacks on a civilian population, willful killing and causing of suffering, using starvation as a method of warfare, “extermination and/or murder” as well as other “inhumane acts.”

The wanted Hamas leaders allegedly “bear criminal responsibility” for murder, rape and other acts of sexual violence, and for taking hostages, torture and other “inhumane acts,” the prosecutor said.

#ICC Prosecutor @KarimKhanQC announces applications for arrest warrants in relation to Benjamin Netanyahu and Yoav Gallant in the context of the situation in the State of #Palestine ⤵️https://t.co/WqDZecXFZq pic.twitter.com/bxqLWc5M6u

— Int’l Criminal Court (@IntlCrimCourt) May 20, 2024

On October 7, Hamas fighters carried out an incursion into Israel, which resulted in  about 1,200 people being killed and 250 taken hostage. The Israeli government responded to the attack by launching a large-scale military operation in Gaza that is still ongoing. According to data from the Palestinian enclave’s health ministry, 35,456 have been killed and 79,476 others wounded as a result of Israel’s airstrikes and ground offensive.

Israel is not a member of the ICC and does not recognize the jurisdiction of the UN court, but the State of Palestine joined the organization in 2015. Once warrants against Netanyahu and Hamas leaders are issued, any of the court’s 124 member-states will be obliged to arrest them if they set foot on their territory.

 

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