ICC Prosecutor Seeks Arrest Warrants For Israeli And Hamas Leaders Over Alleged War Crimes

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced Monday that he is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and three Hamas leaders for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the seven-month conflict in Gaza.

Prosecutor Karim Khan said he has “reasonable grounds” to believe Netanyahu and Gallant “bear criminal responsibility” for war crimes and crimes against humanity including “starvation of civilians as a method of warfare” and “intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population.” He is also seeking arrest warrants for Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh for alleged crimes such as “extermination,” “murder,” “taking hostages” and “rape and other acts of sexual violence.”

Many U.S. Republicans have stood firmly against the court’s interference in the Israel-Hamas war, threatening sanctions if they move forward with the arrest warrant.

“Speaking with survivors, I heard how the love within a family, the deepest bonds between a parent and a child, were contorted to inflict unfathomable pain through calculated cruelty and extreme callousness,” Khan said in a statement. “These acts demand accountability.”

A panel of three judges will consider the prosecutor’s evidence and determine whether to issue the arrest warrants. However, Israel is not a member of the court so Netanyahu and Gallant do not face immediate risk of prosecution even if the warrants are issued. But the threat of arrest could make it difficult for them to travel abroad.