*** ----> Israel, Hamas oppose ICC arrest warrants for war crimes | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Israel, Hamas oppose ICC arrest warrants for war crimes

AFP | Rafah

The Daily Tribune - www.newsofbahrain.com

Israel and Hamas yesterday both angrily rejected moves to arrest their leaders for war crimes made before an international court as heavy fighting raged on in the Gaza Strip.

The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor Karim Khan said he had applied for arrest warrants against top Israeli and Hamas leaders over the bloody conflict.

Israel slammed as a “historical disgrace” the demand targeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, while the Palestinian group Hamas said it “strongly condemns” the move.

Netanyahu said he rejects “with disgust The Hague prosecutor’s comparison between democratic Israel and the mass murderers of Hamas”. Khan said in a statement that he was seeking warrants against the Israeli leaders for crimes including “wilful killing”, “extermination and/or murder” and “starvation”.

In the war started by Hamas’s October 7 attack, he said, Israel had committed “crimes against humanity” as part “of a widespread and systematic attack against the Palestinian civilian population”.

‘Criminal responsibility’

He also said that the leaders of Hamas, including Qatar-based Ismail Haniyeh and Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar, “bear criminal responsibility” for actions committed during the October 7 attack.

These included “taking hostages”, “rape and other acts of sexual violence” and “torture”, Khan added. “International law and the laws of armed conflict apply to all,” he added.

“No foot soldier, no commander, no civilian leader – no one – can act with impunity.”

If granted by the ICC judges, the warrants would mean that technically any of the 124 ICC member states would be obliged to arrest Netanyahu and the others if they traveled there, but the court has no mechanism to enforce its warrants.


Israel’s top ally the US similarly rejected the ICC bid, with President Joe Biden denouncing it as “outrageous” and saying “there is no equivalence - none - between Israel and Hamas”. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, meanwhile, said the move “could jeopardise” ongoing efforts for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The bloodiest-ever Gaza war ground on unabated, with Israeli forces battling Hamas especially in Gaza’s far-southern city of Rafah, but also in other flashpoints in central and northern areas.