Benjamin Netanyahu: International Criminal Court prosecutor seeks arrest warrants against Israeli prime minister and Hamas leaders | World News

The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor has initiated the process to issue arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, and additional figures on charges of alleged war crimes.

Prosecutor Karim AA Khan KC also aims to secure warrants for Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, Hamas military chief Mohammed Deif, and political chief Ismail Haniyeh.

The request emerges amidst the persistent conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

On Monday, Mr. Khan provided the rationale for pursuing the arrest warrants in a public statement.

He emphasized the critical role of upholding international humanitarian law, stating that it “applies to all individuals and applies equally across the situations addressed by my office and the court” as a means to demonstrate the equal value of all human lives.

Position on Hamas leaders

Khan expressed belief there are substantial grounds implicating the mentioned Hamas leaders in “war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

The palpable list of alleged offenses includes hostage-taking and severe acts of sexual violence.

“We assert that these crimes against humanity were part of a deliberate and systematic assault against Israel’s civilian population by Hamas and other militant groups following an organizational strategy. We believe some of these crimes persist even today,” he declared.

Locals survey the impact of an Israeli airstrike in Gaza. Image provided by Reuters.

Remarks on Benjamin Netanyahu

Concerning Netanyahu and Gallant, Khan has deduced substantial evidence to hold them accountable for “war crimes and crimes against humanity,” including the “starvation of civilians” and “deliberate targeting of civilian populations.”

“Our stance is that these crimes against humanity have been executed as part of an extensive and methodical offensive against Palestinian civilians, reflecting State policy. These offenses, according to our assessment, are ongoing,” he concluded.

In response, a high-ranking Hamas official criticized the court, alleging it draws a false equivalence between the victim and perpetrator and suggested it might embolden Israel’s continued aggressive actions in Gaza.

Sami Abu Zuhri from the Reuters news agency asserted this latest move from the court might incite further “war of extermination” by Israel.

Former Israeli military leader and war cabinet member Benny Gantz condemned Khan’s announcement, maintaining that Israel operates with high moral standards and possesses capable judicial mechanisms for self-investigation.

What’s next?

For the arrest warrants to proceed, the prosecutor will make requests to a pre-trial judging panel, which typically takes about two months to review the evidence before deciding on the next steps.

Though Israel is not a member of the ICC, and thus Netanyahu and Gallant do not face immediate legal repercussions, the issuance of the warrants could hamper their international travel.

Simultaneously, Israel contests allegations of genocide filed against it in the International Court of Justice by South Africa.

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