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Hungary may not enforce ICC arrest warrant against Netanyahu, official says

May 23, 2024 at 11:01 am

Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister May 14, 2024 [Akos Stiller/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

The International Criminal Court prosecutor’s request for an arrest warrant against Israel’s prime minister is “unacceptable” and could not be enforced in Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff said today according to Reuters.

Gergely Gulyas told a news briefing that, although Hungary ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), it “was never made part of Hungarian law,” meaning that no measure of the court can be carried out within Hungary.

ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan said on Monday he had requested arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his defence chief and three Hamas leaders over alleged war crimes. Representatives of both sides slammed Khan’s decision.

“This decision… is not a legal but a political decision, it is unacceptable and it discredits the International Criminal Court,” Gulyas said.

“It is wrong to use a court as a political tool,” he said.

All 27 European Union countries are ICC members and EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell noted that they “are bound to execute the court’s decisions”. However, Khan’s move has exposed political differences between European powers over the conflict.

Orban is a long-time ally of Netanyahu and has said that Israel has a right to defend itself.

Israel has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians in Gaza since October 2023, the majority children and women. It is accused of committing genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which issued an interim ruling called on Tel Aviv to ensure no genocidal acts are carried out in Gaza and to allow aid into the enclave to stop the ensuing famine.

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