Germany’s Scholz says there’s ‘no warrant’ for ICC to arrest Netanyahu

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz declines to speculate on whether Germany will execute an International Criminal Court arrest warrant for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, noting that no warrant had yet been issued and that Israel had an independent judiciary.

“A chamber of judges will decide,” Scholz says at a joint press conference in Berlin with his Portuguese counterpart when asked about the ICC prosecutor’s request for a warrant over alleged violations of international law amid Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza.

When deciding whether to issue a warrant, judges “shall bear in mind that Israel is a democratic state with a strong and independent judiciary,” he adds.

Scholz’s office was heavily criticized by the Israeli government on Thursday after German spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said the country would “of course” execute a potential ICC arrest order if the need arose.

Under the principle of complementarity, the Hague-based ICC can only prosecute crimes where the local jurisdiction is unable or unwilling to do so.

Earlier this week, ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan’s office said he had recommended issuing the arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant because he had not seen compelling evidence that Israeli courts were probing alleged violations of international law in Gaza.

However, if judges found that Israel was doing a credible investigation of the charges alleged by the ICC prosecutor, they could deny the request.



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