KHAZARIAN COMEUPPANCE CLOSING IN: Netanyahu and Genocide Co-Conspirators Now Fear Arrest Warrants Issued By International Criminal Court

Israel fears possible arrest warrants against Netanyahu, others by International Criminal Court

Israel does not recognise the jurisdiction of the court in The Hague, but the Palestinian territories were admitted as a member state in 2015. Netanyahu said the ICC’s verdict won’t change Israel’s operations in Gaza, but would set a dangerous precedent.

Aveek Banerjee | IndiaTV

Image Source : AP (FILE)Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Jerusalem: Israel has expressed concern that the International Criminal Court could be preparing to issue arrest warrants for Israeli government officials on charges related to the conduct of its nearly seven-month-long war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has written in general terms about ICC action against Israeli troops and officials as pressure grows.

Israeli officials are worried that the court could issue arrest warrants against Netanyahu and other top officials like Defence Minister Yoav Gallant for alleged violations of international humanitarian law in Gaza, according to Israeli media reports, along with arrest warrants for Hamas leaders. Israel is not a member of the court and does not recognise its jurisdiction, but the Palestinian territories were admitted with the status of a member state in 2015.

In response to Israeli media reports that the ICC might soon issue arrest warrants for senior Israeli government and military officials, Foreign Minister Israel Katz on Sunday warned Israeli embassies to bolster their security because of the risk of a “wave of severe antisemitism”. In his message, Katz said, “We expect the court (ICC) to refrain from issuing arrest warrants against senior Israeli political and security officials. We will not bow our heads or be deterred and will continue to fight.”

What is the ICC?

The International Criminal Court was established in 2002 as the permanent court of last resort to prosecute individuals responsible for the world’s most heinous atrocities – war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and the crime of aggression. It is endorsed by the UN but functions independently. However, the ICC does not have an official police force and relies on member states to arrest suspects, proving to be a major obstacle in prosecutions.

The ICC has 124 member states and all of them have signed on to the Rome Statute, which was adopted in 1998 and entered into force in 2002. However, dozens of countries do not accept the court’s jurisdiction over war crimes, including the US, Russia, China and Israel. The ICC becomes involved when nations are unable or unwilling to prosecute crimes on their territory.

In 2020, former US President Donald Trump imposed economic and travel sanctions on the ICC prosecutor and another senior prosecution office staffer, as the court was looking into US and allies’ troops and intelligence officials for potential war crimes in Afghanistan. These sanctions were lifted by current US President Joe Biden in 2021.

The ICC has 17 ongoing investigations, has issued a total of 42 arrest warrants and taken 21 suspects into custody. Its judges have convicted 10 suspects and acquitted four. It earlier forcused on crimes in Africa but now it has ongoing probes in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. The court has also issued arrest warrants for leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and ousted Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir.

Can the ICC prosecute Israeli officials?

The ICC accepted “The State of Palestine” as a member in 2015, and the chief prosecutor announced an investigation into possible crimes on Palestinian territory. In October, current ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan said the court had jurisdiction over any potential war crimes committed by Hamas fighters in Israel and by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip. The case at the ICC is separate from a genocide case launched against Israel at the International Court of Justice, also based in The Hague.

Israel often levies accusations of bias at the UN and international bodies, and Netanyahu has slammed similar decisions as hypocritical and antisemitic. However, after the October 7 attack, Karim Khan called Hamas’ actions “some of the most serious international crimes that shock the conscience of humanity, crimes which the ICC was established to address” and called for the release of hostages.

Netanyahu on Friday said that any ICC decisions would not affect Israel’s actions “to undermine its inherent right to self-defence” but would set a dangerous precedent. Israel’s Foreign Ministry said late Sunday that it had informed missions abroad of “rumours” that the court could order the arrest of senior Israeli political and military officials.

What will happen if arrest warrants are issued?

Khan has said his team is actively investigating any crimes allegedly committed in Gaza and that those who are in breach of the law will be held accountable. Khan said “international humanitarian law must still apply” in the Israel-Hamas war and “the Israeli military knows the law that must be applied.” The US has not participated in or supported the ICC probe.

Matthew Gillet, a lecturer in international law at the University of Essex in England, said if arrest warrants were issued against Israeli officials, some allied countries could take action such as reducing weapons transfers or scaling back diplomatic visits, increasing Israel’s international isolation. It would make “it more difficult for Western liberal democracies to engage with Israel,” he said.

Israel’s military conduct has come under increasing scrutiny as its forces have killed some 34,500 Palestinians in Gaza, according to the enclave’s health authorities, many of them women and children. The Gaza Strip has been reduced to a wasteland, and extreme food shortages have prompted fears of famine. The Israeli assault was launched in response to the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, in which Israel says 1,200 people were killed and over 250 hostages taken.

Israel’s military campaign has displaced most of the blockaded Palestinian enclave’s 2.3 million people and created a humanitarian crisis. Israel says that it takes precautions to minimise civilian deaths and that at least a third of the Gaza fatalities are combatants, figures that Hamas has dismissed.

(with inputs from agencies)


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