ICC prosecutor’s applications for arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Gallant, Sinwar, Deif, and Haniyeh

ICC prosecutor’s applications for arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Gallant, Sinwar, Deif, and Haniyeh


The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court asked a panel of international legal experts (Lord Justice Fulford, Judge Theodor Meron CMG, Amal Clooney, Danny Friedman KC, Baroness Helena Kennedy LT KC, Elizabeth Wilmshurst CMG KC) to assist him with evaluating evidence of suspected war crimes and crimes against humanity in Israel and Gaza:

For months, we have engaged in an extensive process of review and analysis. We have carefully examined each of the applications for arrest warrants, as well as underlying material produced by the prosecution team in support of the applications. This has included witness statements, expert evidence, official communications, videos and photographs. In our legal report published today, we unanimously agree that the prosecutor’s work was rigorous, fair and grounded in the law and the facts. And we unanimously agree that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the suspects he identifies have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity within the jurisdiction of the ICC.

David Kaye, a law professor at the University of California, writes:

In seeking the arrests of senior leaders of Israel and Hamas, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has given the world a promise of accountability.

Regardless of the outcome of the cases, the prosecutor’s request that the court issue arrest warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas’s Yahya Sinwar helps cut through the polarizing language of the moment and promotes the idea that the basic rules of international humanitarian law apply to all. Anyone demanding an end to the conflict in Gaza and the release of all hostages from the grasp of Hamas should embrace the decision.

The prosecutor, Karim Khan, has also brought accusations against Hamas’s Muhammad Deif and Ismail Haniyeh. Mr. Khan has charged the three Hamas leaders with crimes against humanity and war crimes arising out of the Oct. 7 attacks, and he emphasized that some of these crimes are being committed “to this day,” a reference to the hostages still being held by the group.

Mr. Khan is charging Israel’s most senior leadership, including Mr. Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, for war crimes and crimes against humanity. While Mr. Khan recognized Israel’s “right to take action to defend its population,” he accused them of having “a common plan to use starvation as a weapon of war,” the targeting of civilians and other forms of collective punishment.

Crucially, the request recognizes compelling claims for justice on both sides of the conflict. Soon after Hamas’s attack on Israel, families of Israeli victims urged Mr. Khan to investigate Hamas for its actions, including forced disappearances, which is viewed by the court as a crime against humanity. “They simply want justice to be done,” a lawyer for some of the families said. Mr. Khan, after visiting the Rafah border crossing in late October, said of the hostage-taking, “When these types of acts take place, they cannot go uninvestigated, and they cannot go unpunished.”

The prosecutor also recognized demands on the Palestinian side. When Mr. Gallant announced a “complete siege” of Gaza days after the Oct. 7 attacks, a potentially grave violation of international law, the prosecutor had little choice but to set in motion an investigation that led to today’s action. [Continue reading…]

Just Security provides a timeline of Int’l Criminal Court arrest warrant applications for Gaza War:

[T]he Prosecutor’s decision to apply for arrest warrants comes after years of legal and policy moves that brought Gaza within the jurisdiction of the ICC, and begins a long process that could – but might not – lead to trials of the suspects named today. In addition, there may be further applications for arrest warrants, for different suspects and different or additional charges, yet to come. [Continue reading…]

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