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Arrest warrants sought by ICC for alleged war crimes
ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan Pic: Shutterstock

21 May 2024 / global Print

Arrest warrants sought by ICC for alleged war crimes

The prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) has requested arrest warrants for three Hamas leaders, as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defence minister Yoav Gallant, over alleged war crimes.

After seven months of war, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said that he had reasonable grounds to believe that all "bear criminal responsibility" for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

‘Lives of equal value’

"Now, more than ever, we must collectively demonstrate that international humanitarian law, the foundational baseline for human conduct during conflict, applies to all individuals and applies equally across the situations addressed by my office and the court," Khan said.

"This is how we will prove, tangibly, that the lives of all human beings have equal value."

Arrest warrants have been sought for Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Al-Masri, the commander-in-chief of the military wing of Hamas who is widely known as Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas' Political Bureau.

Netanyahu and Gallant have overseen Israel's offensive against Hamas in Gaza since the Palestinian militant group's 7 October raid on Israel.

Pre-trial panel

A pre-trial panel of judges will decide whether the evidence supports the issuing of arrest warrants.

The ICC has no means to enforce arrest warrants, and its investigation is opposed by the United States and Israel. Both sides have dismissed allegations of committing war crimes.

The Hamas leaders face allegations of bearing responsibility for crimes, including extermination and murder, hostage-taking, torture, rape, and other acts of sexual violence.

Netanyahu and Gallant face allegations of responsibility for starvation of civilians as a method of warfare, wilfully causing great suffering, and wilful killing or murder as a war crime.

Both sides have denounced the prosecutor's moves.

Gazette Desk
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