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ICC Seeks Arrest Warrants for Hamas, Netanyahu Over Gaza War Crimes

By News   Desk

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is seeking arrest warrants for the leaders of Hamas and top Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, over alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during the October 2023 Gaza conflict, the court's chief prosecutor said on Monday.

In an exclusive interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan said arrest warrant applications have been filed against Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and two other Hamas chiefs - Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh.

The charges against the Hamas leaders include "extermination, murder, taking of hostages, rape and sexual assault in detention," Khan told Amanpour. For Netanyahu and Gallant, the allegations are "causing extermination, causing starvation as a method of war, including the denial of humanitarian relief supplies, deliberately targeting civilians in conflict."

If approved by ICC judges, the warrants against Netanyahu would mark the first time the court has targeted the leader of a close U.S. ally, putting him in similar status as Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was issued an arrest warrant over the Ukraine war.

"The world was shocked on the 7th of October when people were ripped from their bedrooms, from their homes, from the different kibbutzim in Israel," Khan said. "People have suffered enormously."

When asked about Netanyahu's previous comments dismissing the ICC's jurisdiction, Khan responded: "Nobody is above the law."

The Palestinian Authority joined the ICC in 2015, allowing the court to investigate alleged crimes on Palestinian territories. However, neither Israel nor the United States are ICC members, and both have criticized the court's attempt to prosecute the Israeli leadership.

"Israel has an independent legal system that rigorously investigates all violations of the law," Netanyahu said last month when reports of the impending warrants first surfaced, calling it "an outrage of historic proportions" if they proceed.

A panel of ICC judges will now consider Khan's evidence before deciding whether to approve the unprecedented arrest warrant requests against the Israeli prime minister and Hamas chiefs over last year's deadly Gaza conflict.