US Blasts 'Outrageous' ICC Pending Arrest Warrants Targeting Israel Leaders

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, May 20, 2024 - 05:07 PM

Update(1307ET): The same Western officials who cheered on the Hague-based ICC when it issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin are now aghast that it would do the same for US ally Benjamin Netanyahu. 

The Biden administration has condemned the pending formal arrest warrant applications, which also targets Israel's defense minister, as "outrageous". Below is the full statement:

Perhaps for the sake of a show of 'balance' - the ICC prosecutor is also seeking arrest warrants for Hamas top political and military leadership. However, that Israel is being targeted is a history-setting development.

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The International Criminal Court (ICC) has pulled the trigger on issuing its controversial arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after months of speculation it may not go through with it amid a Washington pressure campaign. Its chief prosecutor Karim Khan revealed Monday that the world court is seeking arrest warrants for the leaders of Israel who are executing the war in Gaza, also including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Monday's action marks the first time ever that the Hague-based court has targeted a national leader of a close US ally. Netanyahu is now set to be on the court's 'wanted' list alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The prosecutor said that there were "reasonable grounds to believe Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu bears criminal responsibility for war crimes, crimes against humanity" and that an application is being filed Monday. The ICC judges are set to review the applications submitted by Khan for the arrest warrants for they formally go into effect.

Kahn further announced that the charges stem from the crimes of "causing extermination, causing starvation as a method of war including the denial of humanitarian relief supplies, deliberately targeting civilians in conflict."

The ICC is also seeking the arrest warrant of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, and Mohammed Deif, leader of the Al-Qassem Brigades, and Ismail Haniyeh, the political leader of Hamas.

As for the three Hamas leaders, they are being sought over the Oct.7 terror attacking, and war crimes including murder, the kidnapping of hostages, as sexual abuse.

"Today we have applied for warrants to the pretrial chamber of the international criminal court in relation to three individuals who are Hamas members," Kahn announced of the listing Sinwar, Deif and Haniyeh.

Monday's announcement from the Hague constitutes a huge reputational shock and black eye for Israel on the world stage as it struggles to bat down growing international criticism over the soaring civilian casualties in Gaza. It has increasingly witnessed Global South countries especially turn against it, as the anti-Israel boycott movement also grows internationally.

This also will mean Netanyahu could have trouble traveling to certain countries which are signatories of the Rome Statute, or at least he will have to 'watch out' when it comes to visits abroad, even when he eventually exits government office. Last year President Putin avoided traveling to South Africa for an important BRICS conference for precisely this, and to ease the pressure on the government of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Below is the introductory section of Khan's arrest warrant application for the Israeli leaders:

On the basis of evidence collected and examined by my Office, I have reasonable grounds to believe that Benjamin NETANYAHU, the Prime Minister of Israel, and Yoav GALLANT, the Minister of Defence of Israel, bear criminal responsibility for  the following war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on the territory of the State of Palestine (in the Gaza strip) from at least 8 October 2023:

  • Starvation of civilians as a method of warfare as a war crime contrary to article 8(2)(b)(xxv) of the Statute;
  • Wilfully causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or health contrary to article 8(2)(a)(iii), or cruel treatment as a war crime contrary to article 8(2)(c)(i);
  • Wilful killing contrary to article 8(2)(a)(i), or Murder as a war crime contrary to article 8(2)(c)(i);
  • Intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population as a war crime contrary to articles 8(2)(b)(i), or 8(2)(e)(i);
  • Extermination and/or murder contrary to articles 7(1)(b) and 7(1)(a), including in the context of deaths caused by starvation, as a crime against humanity;
  • Persecution as a crime against humanity contrary to article 7(1)(h);
  • Other inhumane acts as crimes against humanity contrary to article 7(1)(k).