Home News Israeli officials believe ICJ is preparing arrest warrants over war

Israeli officials believe ICJ is preparing arrest warrants over war

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Israeli officials are increasingly convinced that the International Criminal Court is preparing to issue arrest warrants for senior government officials on charges related to the conflict with Hamas, according to five Israeli and foreign officials.

Israeli and foreign officials also believe the court is considering issuing an arrest warrant for Hamas leaders.

Two of the five officials said that if the court proceeding, Israeli officials could be accused of blocking the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip and of responding too harshly to the October 7 Hamas-led attack on Israel. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Israeli officials, concerned about the possible repercussions of such a case, have said they believe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is among those who may be named on the arrest warrant. It was unclear who might be charged by Hamas or what crimes they would be charged with.

Israeli officials have not disclosed the nature of the information that led them to fear possible action by the ICC, and the court has not commented on the matter.

The arrest warrant issued by the court is likely to be seen as a humiliating moral condemnation in many parts of the world, especially for Israel, which has faced international backlash for months over its actions in Gaza, including From President Bidenhe calls it “transcendence.”

It could also affect Israeli policy as it pursues military action against Hamas. An Israeli official said the possibility of a court order had informed Israeli decision-making in recent weeks.

Israeli and foreign officials said they did not know what stage the process was at. Any warrant would need to be approved by a panel of judges and would not necessarily lead to a trial or even an immediate arrest of the target.

The court’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, previously confirmed that his team was investigating events during the war, but his office declined to comment for this article, saying it would not “respond to speculation in media reports.”

Mr Netanyahu’s office also declined to comment, but on Friday Prime Minister said On social media, any intervention by the ICC “would set a dangerous precedent that threatens the soldiers and officials of all democracies fighting brutal terrorism and wanton aggression.”

Netanyahu did not explain why he made the remarks, although he may have been responding to speculation in the Israeli media about the arrest warrant.

He also said: “Under my leadership, Israel will never accept any attempt by the International Criminal Court to undermine its inherent right to self-defense. Threats to arrest soldiers and officials of the only democracy in the Middle East and the only Jewish state in the world are It’s outrageous. We won’t bow to it.”

The ICC, headquartered in The Hague, is the world’s only permanent international court with the authority to prosecute individuals accused of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. The court does not have its own police force.Instead, it relies on its 124 members, which includes most European countries but not Israel or the United States, to arrest those named in the warrant.This is not allowed Defendant tried in absentia.

But a court warrant may pose an obstacle to the travel of the officer named in it.

Hamas-led attacks last October killed about 1,200 people in Israel and kidnapped about 250, according to Israeli officials. The ensuing war in Gaza, including heavy Israeli bombardment, has killed more than 34,000 people, caused widespread damage to housing and infrastructure and brought the region to the brink of famine, according to Gaza officials.

Israel’s attack on Gaza leads to hearing at the International Court of Justice, an independent court in The Hague genocide charges against the state of Israel and to stimulate wave of protests On American college campuses.

If the ICC does issue arrest warrants, they will be deeply stigmatizing, linking those named to Sudan’s deposed President Omar al-Bashir and Russian President Vladimir V. Foreign leaders such as Putin fall into the same category. Last year, he was subject to an arrest warrant in connection with the war in Ukraine.

The ICC focuses on individuals rather than states, unlike the International Court of Justice, which resolves disputes between states.

ICC judges have ruled that the court has jurisdiction over Gaza and the West Bank because the Palestinians have joined the court as a Palestinian state.

Mr Khan explain His team will investigate the events since October 7 and he will “examine the evidence impartially and uphold the rights of the victims, whether they are in Israel or Palestine.”

Mr Khan’s office is also investigating war crimes charges Crimes committed during the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas; an official who spoke on condition of anonymity believed the new arrest warrant would be an extension of that investigation.

Hamas and the Israeli military did not respond to requests for comment. Israeli Defense Minister Yov Galante’s office declined to comment.

Overall, Israeli officials say they fight under the laws of war and take significant steps to protect civilians, and accuse Hamas of hiding in civilian areas, forcing Israel to hunt them there. Hamas denies committing atrocities on October 7 and says – despite video evidence suggesting otherwise – that its fighters were trying to avoid harming civilians.

Maris Simmons, Gabby Sobelman and Myra Novick Contributed reporting.

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