Monday, June 17, 2024

ICC Prosecutor Seeks Arrest Warrants for Netanyahu, and Hamas Leaders

The International Criminal Court's (ICC) prosecutor, Karim Khan, announced on Monday that he has requested arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his defense chief, and three Hamas leaders.

This move comes after more than seven months of conflict in Gaza, with Khan citing "reasonable grounds" to believe the individuals bear responsibility for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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Among those targeted are Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and Prime Minister Netanyahu, who have overseen Israel's offensive against Hamas since the Palestinian militant group's raid on Israel in October. Khan also seeks warrants for Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Al-Masri (also known as Deif), and Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas' Political Bureau.

A panel of pre-trial judges will review the evidence to determine the validity of the arrest warrants. However, the ICC lacks enforcement mechanisms, and its investigation into the Gaza conflict has faced opposition from the United States and Israel.

Read: Iranian President Raisi, Foreign Minister Killed in Helicopter Crash

Both Israeli and Palestinian leaders have vehemently denied allegations of war crimes, with Netanyahu condemning the comparison between Israel and Hamas as a "complete distortion of reality." US President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken criticized the ICC's legal step, warning that it could jeopardize negotiations on a hostage deal and ceasefire.

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Meanwhile, Hamas officials denounced the prosecutor's decision, with senior official Sami Abu Zuhri stating that it equates the victim with the executioner. Hamas demanded the cancellation of the arrest warrant requests for its leaders.

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