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ICC prosecutor condemns Israel’s ‘collective punishment’ in Gaza as war crime

May 27, 2024 at 9:17 am

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan speaks at the Cour d’Honneur of the Palais Royal in Paris on February 7, 2024 [DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images]

Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Karim Khan accused Israel of imposing collective punishment on Gaza, stressing that no one has the right to commit war crimes or crimes against humanity.

In an interview with British newspaper The Sunday Times last Sunday, Khan commented on the reactions to his request for international arrest warrants against leaders from Israel and Hamas.

Last Monday, Khan announced he had requested international arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh, Yahya Sinwar and Mohammed Deif on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed since 7 October.

The decision to issue any of the requested arrest warrants rests with a panel of three judges at the ICC, who will evaluate the evidence presented by Khan’s office.

Khan told the British newspaper: “We must underline the equal value of every child, every woman, every civilian in a world that is increasingly polarised, and if we don’t do it, then what sense of existence do we have?”

He stressed that countries’ failure to take action following the issuance of ICC arrest warrants will have significant consequences.

He added: “I am not saying that Israel with its democracy and its supreme court is akin to Hamas, of course not. I couldn’t be clearer. Israel has every right to protect its population and to get the hostages back. But nobody has a licence to commit war crimes or crimes against humanity. The means define us.”

READ: Israel’s Netanyahu, Gallant in ICC Prosecutor’s crosshairs over Gaza war crimes