Israeli officials brace for ICC arrest warrants over war

Israeli authorities suspect that the International Criminal Court (ICC) may soon issue arrest warrants for high-ranking government officials in connection with the conflict involving Hamas, as reported by Israeli and foreign sources. They also suggest the possibility of arrest warrants for Hamas leaders.

Potential charges against Israeli officials could include impeding humanitarian aid delivery to Gaza and reacting excessively to Hamas-led attacks on October 7, according to some sources who requested anonymity.

Concerns about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu being among those targeted have been raised, though Hamas figures and the specific charges remain unclear.

Israeli officials refrain from disclosing the specifics of their concerns, while the ICC declines to comment on the matter.

Global implications

The issuance of arrest warrants by the ICC could be viewed globally as a significant moral rebuke, particularly towards Israel, which has faced criticism for its actions in Gaza, including from President Biden.

This potential development could also influence Israeli policies amid ongoing military operations against Hamas.

The exact stage of the ICC process is unknown, and any warrants would require approval from a panel of judges, potentially not leading to immediate trials or arrests.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan has acknowledged investigations into incidents during the conflict, but his office refrains from commenting on speculation in media reports.

While Mr. Netanyahu’s office refrains from commenting, the Prime Minister warns against ICC intervention, emphasizing Israel’s right to self-defense.

Icc arrest warrants

The ICC, based in The Hague, lacks its own police force and relies on member states to execute warrants. However, warrants could hinder travel for those named.

The conflict stemming from the Hamas-led raid in October resulted in casualties on both sides, with significant destruction and casualties in Gaza.

The Israeli assault has led to accusations of genocide at the International Court of Justice and sparked protests in the United States.

If the ICC issues arrest warrants, those named could face significant stigma, akin to leaders like Omar al-Bashir and Vladimir Putin, who were subject to warrants in the past.

The ICC’s focus on individuals sets it apart from the International Court of Justice, which handles state disputes. Mr. Khan’s office is also investigating alleged war crimes from the 2014 conflict, with some suggesting continuity in the new warrants.

Hamas and the Israeli military refrain from commenting, while Israeli officials maintain adherence to the laws of war, accusing Hamas of using civilian areas for military purposes.

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