ICC seeks arrest warrants for three Hamas leaders!

Hamas fighters celebrate the destruction of an Israeli tank on October 7th

THE DECISION by the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor to seek arrest warrants for three Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh ‘equates the victim with the executioner’, senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said yesterday.

The chief prosecutor of the ICC, Karim Khan, also applied for arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant.
Zuhri condemned the ICC move against Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas; Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, chief of the military wing of Hamas, the Al-Qassam Brigades; and Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas’ political bureau, saying it gives encouragement to Israel to continue its ‘war of extermination’ in Gaza.
Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) official Wasel Abu Youssef also condemned the ICC prosecutor’s move as a ‘confusion between the victim and the executioner’.
‘The ICC is required to issue arrest warrants against Israeli officials who continue committing genocide crimes in the Gaza Strip,’ he insisted.
Khan announced that it is filing applications for arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Gallant saying there are reasonable grounds to believe they bear criminal responsibility for the following war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Gaza from at least October 8th, 2023:

  • Starvation of civilians as a method of warfare as a war crime;
  • Wilfully causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or health;
  • Wilful killing or murder as a war crime;
  • Intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population as a war crime;
  • Extermination and/or murder, including in the context of deaths caused by starvation, as a crime against humanity;
  • Persecution as a crime against humanity;
  • Other inhumane acts as crimes against humanity.

In a statement demanding the cancellation of the arrest warrants against its leaders Sinwar, Deif and Haniyeh, Hamas added that Khan’s application for arrest warrants against Netanyahu and Gallant had come ‘seven months too late’.
Hamas also called on the ICC prosecutor to issue arrest warrants ‘for all the Israeli officials who gave orders and the soldiers who carried out crimes, in accordance with the Rome Statute.
‘The prosecutor is acting in violation of all norms that allow for people under occupation, including Palestinians, to resist their occupier,’ Hamas’s statement said.
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