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Netanyahu and Hamas leaders to join President Vladimir Putin on ICC arrest list.


In March 2023, the Hague-based International Criminal Court [ICC] sought the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Now, the International Criminal Court seeks arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Hamas leaders.

This developing story is being updated – but at 19.30, May 20th, 2024, the story is as follows:-

The International Criminal Court is seeking arrest warrants against both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar in connection with the October 7 attacks and the Gaza war.

citing allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Israel and the State of Palestine ICC Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan filed applications for the arrests on Monday against

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar,
  • The commander of Hamas’s military wing, Mohammed Diab Ibrahim Al-Masri, and
  • Israel’s defence minister, Yoav Gallant,

Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas Political Bureau, was also named in the statement as one of the group’s leaders suspected of

  • Bearing “criminal responsibility” for the alleged crimes alongside Sinwar and Al-Masri.

According to Reuters.

  • Israel’s foreign minister condemned the court move as a “historical disgrace that will be remembered forever.”
  • A Hamas official said the decision equated “the victim with the executioner.”

Israel has been engaged in a bloody war in Gaza since Hamas militants killed around 1,200 Israelis on October 7 last year. In retaliation, Israeli armed forces pummelled Gaza with airstrikes. They launched a ground invasion that has since killed at least 35,000 people, according to figures from the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza.

Khan said

  • He had “reasonable grounds to believe” that the named leaders on both sides had engaged in alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Citing Israel’s “total siege of Gaza” and the deliberate cutting off of aid, water and electricity at the start of the conflict, Khan accused

  • Netanyahu and Yoav Gallant, Israel’s defence minister, deliberately starving civilians as a method of warfare.

Khan went on to allege that:-

  • The Israeli leadership had intentionally directed attacks against a civilian population while seeking to “collectively punish” the people of Gaza. 

Khan said in a statement.

  • “We submit that the crimes against humanity charged were committed as part of a widespread and systematic attack against the Palestinian civilian population under State policy”
  • “These crimes, in our assessment, continue to this day.”

Khan said the court’s assessment was based on evidence drawn from

  • Interviews with survivors and witnesses,
  • As well as “authenticated video, photo and audio material, satellite imagery and statements from the alleged perpetrator group,”

Simultaneously, Khan accused Hamas leadership of war crimes and crimes against humanity connected to its attacks on towns in Israel on October 7 last year that left around 1,200 Israelis dead and 250 taken hostage.

Khan said,

  • Under Sinwar and Al-Masri’s leadership, Hamas had engaged in extermination, murder, hostage-taking, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence.

ICC judges will now determine whether the evidence provided by Khan is enough to go ahead with formally issuing the arrest warrants. This process can take up to several months.

Delivering the ICC’s orders, which depend on law enforcement agencies in its 124 member countries, has historically proved difficult. In March 2023, the Hague-based court sought the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but he could elude capture by avoiding countries that might try to comply.


This developing story is being updated.


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