ICC Announces Application for Arrest Warrants Against Israeli and Hamas Officials

International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim A. Khan has announced that applications for arrest warrants have been submitted against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant, as well as Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, al-Qassam Brigades Commander Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, and Hamas Political Bureau head Ismail Haniyeh for alleged war crimes committed “in the context of the situation in the State of Palestine”


In a statement, Khan said that “I have reasonable grounds to believe that Benjamin NETANYAHU, the Prime Minister of Israel, and Yoav GALLANT, the Minister of Defense of Israel, bear criminal responsibility for  the following war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on the territory of the State of Palestine (in the Gaza strip) from at least 8 October 2023:

  • Starvation of civilians as a method of warfare as a war crime contrary to article 8(2)(b)(xxv) of the Statute;
  • Wilfully causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or health contrary to article 8(2)(a)(iii), or cruel treatment as a war crime contrary to article 8(2)(c)(i);
  • Wilful killing contrary to article 8(2)(a)(i), or Murder as a war crime contrary to article 8(2)(c)(i);
  • Intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population as a war crime contrary to articles 8(2)(b)(i), or 8(2)(e)(i);
  • Extermination and/or murder contrary to articles 7(1)(b) and 7(1)(a), including in the context of deaths caused by starvation, as a crime against humanity;
  • Persecution as a crime against humanity contrary to article 7(1)(h);
  • Other inhumane acts as crimes against humanity contrary to article 7(1)(k).”

He went on to add that “On the basis of evidence collected and examined by my Office, I have reasonable grounds to believe that Yahya SINWAR (Head of the Islamic Resistance Movement (“Hamas”) in the Gaza Strip), Mohammed Diab Ibrahim AL-MASRI, more commonly known as DEIF (Commander-in-Chief of the military wing of Hamas, known as the Al-Qassam Brigades), and Ismail HANIYEH (Head of Hamas Political Bureau) bear criminal responsibility for the following war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on the territory of Israel and the State of Palestine (in the Gaza strip) from at least 7 October 2023:

  • Extermination as a crime against humanity, contrary to article 7(1)(b) of the Rome Statute;
  • Murder as a crime against humanity, contrary to article 7(1)(a), and as a war crime, contrary to article 8(2)(c)(i);
  • Taking hostages as a war crime, contrary to article 8(2)(c)(iii);
  • Rape and other acts of sexual violence as crimes against humanity, contrary to article 7(1)(g), and also as war crimes pursuant to article 8(2)(e)(vi) in the context of captivity;
  • Torture as a crime against humanity, contrary to article 7(1)(f), and also as a war crime, contrary to article 8(2)(c)(i), in the context of captivity;
  • Other inhumane acts as a crime against humanity, contrary to article 7(l)(k), in the context of captivity;
  • Cruel treatment as a war crime contrary to article 8(2)(c)(i), in the context of captivity; and
  • Outrages upon personal dignity as a war crime, contrary to article 8(2)(c)(ii), in the context of captivity.”

“The independent judges of the International Criminal Court are the sole arbiters as to whether the necessary standard for the issuance of warrants of arrest has been met. Should they grant my applications and issue the requested warrants, I will then work closely with the Registrar in all efforts to apprehend the named individuals. I count on all States Parties to the Rome Statute to take these applications and the subsequent judicial decision with the same seriousness they have shown in other Situations, meeting their obligations under the Statute. I also stand ready to work with non-States Parties in our common pursuit of accountability,” the statement added.

Atlas
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