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ICC seeks arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Hamas leaders over ‘war crimes’

Netanyahu Netanyahu

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is seeking an arrest warrant for Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel.

The court is also asking for an arrest warrant for Yoav Gallant, Israeli defence minister.

Both men have been accused of war crimes.

The ICC is also seeking warrants for three Hamas chiefs — Yahya Sinwar, leader of the Palestinian militant group; Mohammed Al-Masri, leader of the Al Qassem Brigades; and Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’ political leader.

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Karim Khan, ICC chief prosecutor, told CNN in an interview on Monday that the charges against the Hamas leaders include “extermination, murder, taking of hostages, rape and sexual assault in detention,” while referencing the October 7, 2023 attacks on Israel.

“The world was shocked on the 7th of October when people were ripped from their bedrooms, from their homes, from the different kibbutzim in Israel,” Khan said.

In response to the attacks, Israel has bombarded the Gaza Strip in its bid to eliminate Hamas.

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Khan listed “causing extermination, causing starvation as a method of war, including the denial of humanitarian relief supplies, deliberately targeting civilians in conflict” as the charges against Netanyahu and Gallant.

The ICC is the world’s first permanent international war crimes court and its 124 member states are obliged to immediately arrest the wanted person if on their territory.

However, the court has no means to enforce arrest warrants.

Israel and the US, the Jewish nation’s greatest ally, are not members of the ICC. However, the court says it has jurisdiction over Gaza, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank.

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It will be up to a panel of pre-trial judges to determine whether the evidence supports the issuing of arrest warrants.

“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.

Israel and Palestinian leaders previously denied war crimes allegations.

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