ARAB AND WORLD

Tue 21 May 2024 10:35 pm - Jerusalem Time

Israel warns ICC prosecutor and calls on countries around the world to reject arrest warrants for its leaders

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a warning to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, after formally requesting that an arrest warrant be issued for him and his Defense Minister Yoav Galant. Tel Aviv also called on what it described as the countries of the civilized world to clearly reject this step.


When asked if he had concerns about traveling abroad in light of the International Criminal Prosecutor's move, Netanyahu said, "I'm not worried about travel. I'm not at all worried about our status."


He continued - in press statements today, Tuesday - that "the Prosecutor General is the one who has to worry about his status. He is turning the International Criminal Court into a pariah institution."


Meanwhile, Israeli government spokeswoman Tal Heinrich called on what she described as countries of the civilized and free world to stand by Israel and denounce the International Criminal Court's decision.


She added, "Make sure that the International Criminal Court knows your position. Oppose the prosecutor's decision and declare that even if arrest warrants are issued, you do not intend to implement them. Because this is not about our leaders, but about our survival."


Israel is waiting

Heinrich was asked about the possibility of Netanyahu and Gallant avoiding traveling to ICC member states if arrest warrants were issued against them, and she said, "Let's wait and see."


For his part, Gallant said in a post on the X website that the Attorney General’s attempt to deprive Israel of the right to self-defense and release its prisoners must be rejected in its entirety.


The International Criminal Prosecutor confirmed in his televised announcement yesterday that he requested the issuance of arrest warrants against Netanyahu, Gallant, and three leaders of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas).

Khan said that regardless of any military objectives Israel wants to achieve in Gaza, prosecutors believe that its means of achieving them “that is, intentionally causing death, starvation, great suffering and serious injury to the bodies or health of the civilian population, are criminal acts.”

Reactions to the ICC Prosecutor's announcement continued, with Western countries expressing their dissatisfaction.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said during a congressional hearing today that the court’s decision is “wrong” and frustrates the efforts made by the United States to end the conflict in Gaza, as he put it.


He added that the International Criminal Court's decision will only complicate the prospects of reaching an agreement on the release of prisoners.


Blinken added that the US administration is ready to work with Congress "to reach an appropriate response to the court's decision."


On the other hand, a German government spokesman said, “The accusations brought by the International Criminal Prosecutor are serious and must be proven.”


He added that the Public Prosecutor's request to issue arrest warrants against Hamas leaders is "a logical matter", and they cannot be compared to the Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister, as he put it.


Poland announced a similar position, as its Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, said in a press conference that “attempting to show that the Prime Minister of Israel and the leaders of terrorist organizations are on the same page - and also the participation of international institutions in this - is unacceptable.”


Norway is committed to the decision. On the other hand, Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Ede said that his country is obligated to arrest Netanyahu if he visits it after an arrest warrant is issued by the International Criminal Court.


Meanwhile, a panel of independent experts - including human rights lawyer Amal Clooney - expressed its support for the ICC Prosecutor's decision. Clooney and five other experts - including two former judges in criminal courts in The Hague - said they met at Khan's request in January. last January to evaluate the materials provided to them and provide legal advice.


In a report published yesterday, Monday, they said that they conducted “an extensive review and analysis process,” which included witness statements, video clips, and documented photographs obtained by ICC investigators. The committee affirmed that it was “reassured that the process is fair, accurate, and independent, and the requests of the Prosecutor to issue arrest warrants.” "Based on law and facts."


For more than 7 months, the Israeli occupation army has been waging what international experts describe as a war of extermination against the Palestinians in Gaza, where tens of thousands were martyred and injured, most of them children and women, and nearly 70% of the civilian infrastructure, including homes, schools, and hospitals, was destroyed.


Source: Al Jazeera + agencies + Israeli press

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Israel warns ICC prosecutor and calls on countries around the world to reject arrest warrants for its leaders

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