ICC Pursues Arrest Warrants for Top Israeli and Hamas Officials

(BrightPress.org) – Karim Khan, prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) filed for arrest warrants for leaders of Hamas and Israel on Monday, May 20th.

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and two other Hamas leaders, Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri and Ismail Haniyeh are accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity including murder, sexual assault, and taking hostages.

The ICC is also seeking warrants for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. The two leaders are accused of “causing extermination,” using starvation as a weapon, denying aid to civilians, and targeting civilians. The fighting has caused a “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza where thousands of civilians are facing extreme famine

The charges against the five men stem from the war in Gaza that has been ongoing since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7th killing 1200 people and taking 250 people hostage and Israel’s continued response. According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza more than 35,000 Palestinians have died as a result of the war, many of them women and children, and more than 79,000 have been wounded.

A panel of three ICC judges will decide if the proposed warrants will be issued. This process usually takes about two months to complete. Israel is not a member of the ICC. If arrest warrants are issued, it is unlikely that any of the Israeli or Hamas leaders will face prosecution, but if any of the men were to travel to a country that is a member of the ICC, they would be arrested and extradited to The Hague.

President Joe Biden said seeking warrants for Netanyahu is “outrageous.” He went on to clarify that there is “no equivalence” between Israel and Hamas. Biden stated at a Jewish American Heritage Month celebration that the U.S. rejected the ICC’s application for warrants against Israel’s leaders.

Netanyahu said the possibility of a warrant for his arrest is “a moral outrage of historic proportions” and that Israel is only waging a war against Hamas for “the worst attack on the Jewish people since the Holocaust.”

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