ICC seeks arrest warrants for Israel, Hamas leaders | WORLD
Sound journalism, grounded in facts and Biblical truth | Donate

ICC seeks arrest warrants for Israel, Hamas leaders

Prosecutor of International Criminal Court Karim Khan addressing a Security Council meeting Associated Press/Photo by Mary Altaffer

ICC seeks arrest warrants for Israel, Hamas leaders

International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan applied on Monday for warrants to arrest leaders of Israel and Hamas for war crimes during the months-long war in Gaza. Like the United States, Israel is not a member of the ICC, and the charged leaders wouldn’t face any immediate risk of prosecution if the warrants were issued.

Who has been singled out? Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant bear criminal responsibility for crimes against humanity committed in the Gaza strip, Khan’s statement read. He also sought warrants for three Hamas leaders: Hamas Head Yahya Sinwar, Military Commander-in-Chief Mohammed Diab Ibrahim Al-Masri, and Political Bureau Head Ismail Haniyeh. Khan wrote that no soldier, commander, or civilian leader can act with impunity or exemption from the responsibility for their actions.

What kinds of crimes does Khan list? He accused Hamas leaders of committing war crimes of murder, sexual violence, taking hostages, cruel treatment, and outrage upon personal dignity. He also alleged the three Gaza leaders committed other crimes against humanity, including torture. He accused both Israel and Hamas leaders of extermination as defined by the court’s 1998 Rome Statute.

Khan’s war crime allegations against Israel include starving citizens as a mode of warfare, wilfully causing suffering or cruel treatment, murder, and intentionally attacking civilian populations. Khan also accused Netanyahu and Gallant of persecution, another crime against humanity.

Who decides whether to grant the warrants? A panel of international court judges will decide whether to grant warrant applications. If approved, the men would join Russian President Vladimir Putin as world leaders who have ICC arrest warrants out for their arrest.

Has Israel responded to the warrants? Rumors of the ICC issuing warrants have spread for weeks. Netanyahu first acknowledged the possible warrants in a video released on April 30. He described warrants as an outrage of historic proportions that would only incite more global anti-Semitism. Israel is a democratic country fighting for its life according to the rules of war, Netanyahu said.

Dig deeper: Listen to Jill Nelson’s report on The World and Everything in It podcast about whether the ICC will hold the Kremlin accountable for war crimes committed in Ukraine.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

An actual newsletter worth subscribing to instead of just a collection of links. —Adam

Sign up to receive The Sift email newsletter each weekday morning for the latest headlines from WORLD’s breaking news team.

Please wait while we load the latest comments...