On Monday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) released a statement stating that it was seeking arrest warrants of several Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over allegations of committing war crimes on October 7th and the current crisis in Gaza.

As per the official statement from the Hamas side, the people named are “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)” while from Israel’s side “Benjamin NETANYAHU, the Prime Minister of Israel, and Yoav GALLANT, the Minister of Defence of Israel” are included.

What Has The ICC Accused Them Off?

The Hamas leaders are accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity against both Israel and the State of Palestine from 7th October 2023 with the list being:

  • 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.

Israel’s PM and Defence Minister have also been accused of war crimes against Palestine from 8th October 2023 onward including:

  • 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).

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What Does This Mean?

The application for the arrest warrant was submitted by ICC prosecutor Karim Khan, post which a panel of pre-trial judges will go over it and determine if the arrest warrants are needed based on the evidence submitted.

As per reports, leaders from both the Israel and Palestine sides have refuted the allegations against them and stand against Khan’s application and even if the warrants are approved it is not a confirmation that the leaders will be arrested or face a trial.

The ICC founded in 2002 depends on the support of its 124 member countries that recognise the court to arrest those accused, transfer of prisoners and enforce sentences, with the court itself having no power of its own to impose the warrants or make any arrests on its own.

Israel, the United States and Russia are few that don’t recognise its jurisdiction, with Moscow dismissing a warrant that was issued in March of 2023 against Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin.

The ICC claimed that Putin “is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of (children) and that of unlawful transfer of (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation” with Adil Ahmad Haque, an expert in international law and armed conflict at Rutgers University stating “So Putin might go to China, Syria, Iran, his … few allies, but he just won’t travel to the rest of the world and won’t travel to ICC member states who he believes would … arrest him.”

This is something that could happen to the leaders named in the application if the arrest warrant is approved.

However, even in this ICC doesn’t have any real power since former Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir despite being charged by the ICC lives as a fugitive in Sudan and even visited other member states like Kenya, and South Africa without getting arrested or facing any legal action.

Despite the warrant against Putin, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is still ongoing and has not stopped. This does not spell exactly very positively for Palestine which has been enduring Israel’s relentless firing for close to 8 months now.

Netanyahu has also claimed that this warrant will not stop the Israeli forces in their war against Gaza. Speaking to the media while appearing for a faction meeting of his Likud Party in Jerusalem, Israel’s PM said “It’s a scandal—it won’t stop me or us,” and that “It [ICC’s arrest warrant] is directed against the entire State of Israel”.

“It is directed against the IDF soldiers, who are fighting with supreme heroism against the vile Hamas murderers,” he further said.

Image Credits: Google Images

Feature image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: Reuters, CNN, Atlantic Council

Find the blogger: @chirali_08

This post is tagged under: gaza, ceasefire, EU, Gaza strip, Hamas, israel, israel hamas, Israeli forces, jews, killings, muslims, Palestine, Palestinian Hamas, security, War, hamas attack, hamas attack israel, israel conflict, israel hamas conflict, israel hamas war, Israeli police, Palestine, Benjamin Netanyahu, genocide, Israel-Palestine war, israel war gaza, icc, icc arrest warrant, Benjamin Netanyahu icc, icc israel, International Criminal Court

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