NYT: Israel believes ICC readying arrest warrants for senior officials, weighing such measures for Hamas officials too

File: An exterior view of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, December 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
File: An exterior view of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, December 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Israel thinks the International Criminal Court is preparing to issue arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials over accusations related to the Israel-Hamas war, and is considering arrest warrants against Hamas officials too, The New York Times reports.

The report cites five Israeli and foreign officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity and did not reveal the information that led them to reach this conclusion.

The Israeli officials say Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may be named in the warrant, though it is unclear what he would be charged with.

Two of five of the officials say some charges against officials could relate to the severe actions taken by the military in Gaza and the alleged preventing of humanitarian aid deliveries to the Strip.

Israel has been working to prevent such a measure by the ICC recently, an Israeli government source told The Times of Israel on Sunday, amid fears warrants could be issued for Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi.

Israel is not a member of the court, based in The Hague, and does not recognize its jurisdiction, but the Palestinian territories were admitted as a member state in 2015.

Smoke billows following an Israeli bombardment north of Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on April 27, 2024. (AFP)

Karim Khan, the ICC prosecutor, said in October that the court had jurisdiction over any potential war crimes carried out by Hamas terrorists in Israel and by Israelis in the Gaza Strip.

Khan has said his team was investigating any crimes allegedly committed in Gaza, and that those found to have breached the law will be held accountable.

Netanyahu said on Friday that any decisions by the ICC would not affect Israel’s actions, but would set a dangerous precedent.

“Under my leadership, Israel will never accept any attempt by the International Criminal Court in The Hague to undermine its basic right to defend itself,” Netanyahu said in a statement on Telegram.

“While decisions made by the court in The Hague will not affect Israel’s actions, they will set a dangerous precedent that threatens soldiers and public figures,” he said.

The ICC is a treaty-based criminal court focusing on individual criminal responsibility for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Most Popular