VIDEO | Andonovic: Will the International Court of Justice issue an arrest warrant for Netanyahu?

Analysis with Andonović / Photo Sloboden pechat

The chief prosecutor of the International Court of Justice, Karim Khan, is seeking arrest warrants for five people, including Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Hamas leader Sinwar.

After months of gathering evidence, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan, requested an arrest warrant for the top leaders of Israel and Hamas.

Khan issued a statement on Monday explaining that he has "reasonable grounds" to believe that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Galant are guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip since the start of the war against the enclave in which, according to independent sources, Israeli forces killed more than 35.000 Palestinians.

Both are accused of using starvation as a method of warfare against Palestinians in Gaza, as well as "deliberately directing attacks" on civilians and overseeing the "extermination and/or killing" of Palestinians in Gaza.

Khan also accused senior Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri and Ismail Haniyeh of overseeing atrocities against Israeli communities on October 7 last year when 1.139 people were killed and 250 captured in southern Israel. They can be charged with crimes that include "murder and extermination," "hostage taking," and overseeing torture and other inhumane acts.

The announcement that Khan is targeting Netanyahu and Gallant is perhaps most significant, given that it will be the first time the ICC's chief prosecutor has attempted to indict leaders of a country considered a US ally.

The indictment process is in the next few months, a panel of judges at the ICC will consider Khan's request to issue arrest warrants for the aforementioned individuals.

Hamas leadership called on Khan to drop demands for the arrest of its leaders. In the statement, the group states that the chief prosecutor equates "the victim with the executioner".

Israeli politicians, including Netanyahu, also rejected the demands.

"I reject with disgust the Hague prosecutor's comparison between democratic Israel and the mass murderers of Hamas," Netanyahu said.

Israeli military cabinet member Benny Gantz and far-right ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir also attacked Khan, accusing him of anti-Semitism and calling the charge baseless.

US President Joe Biden called the International Criminal Court's request for an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, along with high-ranking members of Hamas, over the actions carried out in Gaza "outrageous".

The US president has unequivocally sided with Israel, the Guardian reports, after ICC prosecutor Karim Khan announced that he was seeking arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Yoav Galant, Israel's defense minister.

The prosecution's announcement prompted Biden's sharpest remarks about support for Israel in months, with the president accusing the ICC of false moral equivalence between the country and Hamas, the militant Islamist group that has ruled Gaza since 2006.

Against this, the high representative of the EU for foreign policy and security, Josep Borrell, in connection with the call of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue an arrest warrant for the leaders of Israel and Hamas, said that all the countries that have ratified the statutes of the ICC are obliged to implement his decisions.

- The mandate of the ICC, as an independent international institution, is to prosecute the most serious crimes according to international law, Borel said.

Any arrest warrant can have real and symbolic consequences for the accused, including possible arrest if they travel to member states of the International Criminal Court. However, neither Hamas nor Israeli leaders will be tried unless they are previously in the Court's custody, and the International Criminal Court has no authority to arrest anyone.

Regardless of how Israel responds if arrest warrants are issued, Gallant and Netanyahu will not be able to travel outside of Israel as much.

As prime minister, Netanyahu may not face the threat of arrest if he travels to the United States, which is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC.

Some observers fear that ICC members who are allies of Israel, such as Germany or the United Kingdom, would not be able to arrest Netanyahu or Gallant if they visited, effectively violating their obligations under the Rome Statute.

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