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ICC Requests Arrest Warrants Against Israeli, Hamas Leaders


Karim Khan, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, has requested arrest warrants for the leaders of Israel and Hamas, including Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, on charges of “war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

The request, in connection with the war in Gaza and the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, was a strong rebuke that equates Netanyahu with Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s leader within Gaza. 

“Today we once again underline that international law and the laws of armed conflict apply to all,” Khan said in his statement. “No foot soldier, no commander, no civilian leader, no one can act with impunity.”

The warrants are largely symbolic. The court’s jurisdiction is not recognized in Israel or Gaza, and it could be months before judges decide whether to issue the warrants. But if they are issued, the leaders could be arrested if they travel to one of the court’s 124 member nations, which include most European countries but not the U.S.

Speaking at a celebration of Jewish Heritage Month at the White House, President Biden condemned the decision of the I.C.C. prosecutor to seek arrest warrants for Israeli leaders. He also rejected the claim being weighed by the separate International Court of Justice that Israel is conducting a genocide in Gaza.

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