ICC could issue arrest warrants for Netanyahu, other top Israeli officials this week


The International Criminal Court (ICC) may be close to indicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top military officials for war crimes, according to reports.

Arrest warrants are expected to be issued as early as this week

An Israeli official told NBC news that the country was working through diplomatic channels to try to stop the warrants from being issued by the ICC.

The court launched an investigation three years ago into possible war crimes committed by both Israel and Palestinian militants going back to the Israel-Hamas war in 2014.

RT reports: Citing an Israeli official, the American network claimed that warrants could be issued for Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and unnamed senior military officers. The official said that “Israel is working through diplomatic channels to try to stop the warrants being issued,” in NBC’s words.

According to Israeli media, army chief Herzl Halevi is among the military officials facing charges.

The ICC did not confirm or deny the report, telling NBC that it “has an ongoing independent investigation in relation to the situation in the State of Palestine” and has “no further comment to make at this stage.”

The ICC’s investigation was launched in 2021, and concerns alleged war crimes by the Israeli military and Palestinian militant groups in the West Bank and Gaza since 2014, when Israel fought a month-long war against Hamas. 

The probe is separate to South Africa’s genocide case against Israel, which is currently being heard by the International Court of Juctice (ICJ). Pretoria alleges that Israeli forces have committed genocide and crimes against humanity during their ongoing operation against Hamas in Gaza.

The ICC and ICJ are both based in the Dutch city of The Hague. Under the 2002 Rome Statute, the ICC is tasked with prosecuting individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the ‘crime of aggression’. The ICJ on the other hand is an organ of the UN tasked with settling disputes between nations. 

Should the ICC issue a warrant for Netanyahu’s arrest, the Israeli PM is unlikely to be hauled to The Hague to face trial. Israel – like the US, Russia, and China – is not a party to the Rome Statute and does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction. A warrant could, however, place Netanyahu at risk of arrest if he were to travel to any of the 124 countries that recognize the court.

After news of a potential war crimes charge emerged last week, Netanyahu declared on Friday that Israel “will never accept any attempt by the ICC to undermine its inherent right of self-defense.”

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