ICC seeks arrest warrants against Sinwar and Netanyahu for war crimes over October 7 attack and Gaza war

The International Criminal Court is seeking arrest warrants for Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity over the October 7 attacks on Israel and the subsequent war in Gaza, the court’s chief prosecutor Karim Khan told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview on Monday.

Khan said the ICC is also seeking warrants for Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as two other top Hamas leaders — Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, the leader of the Al Qassem Brigades and better known as Mohammed Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’ political leader.

The warrants against the Israeli politicians mark the first time the ICC has targeted the top leader of a close ally of the United States. The decision puts Netanyahu in the company of the Russian President Vladimir Putin, for whom the ICC issued an arrest warrant over Moscow’s war on Ukraine.

A panel of ICC judges will now consider Khan’s application for the arrest warrants.

Khan said the charges against Sinwar, Haniyeh and al-Masri include “extermination, murder, taking of hostages, rape and sexual assault in detention.”

“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 told Amanpour, adding that “people have suffered enormously.”

The charges against Netanyahu and Gallant include “causing extermination, causing starvation as a method of war, including the denial of humanitarian relief supplies, deliberately targeting civilians in conflict,” Khan told Amanpour.

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, at left, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at right, are pictured.

When reports surfaced last month that the ICC chief prosecutor was considering this course of action, Netanyahu said that any ICC arrest warrants against senior Israeli government and military officials “would be an outrage of historic proportions,” and that Israel “has an independent legal system that rigorously investigates all violations of the law.”

Asked by Amanpour about the comments made by Netanyahu, Khan said: “Nobody is above the law.”

He said that if Israel disagrees with the ICC, “they are free, notwithstanding their objections to jurisdiction, to raise a challenge before the judges of the court and that’s what I advise them to do.”

Israel and the United States are not members of the ICC. However, the ICC claims to have jurisdiction over Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank after Palestinian leaders formally agreed to be bound by the court’s founding principles in 2015.

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Categories: Israel
Anton Nieuwenhuizen

Written by:Anton Nieuwenhuizen All posts by the author

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