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ICC To Issue Arrest Warrants For Benjamin Netanyahu And Other Israeli Leaders: Biden Called It “Outrageous!”

Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has recently announced that he is going to file an application seeking arrest warrants for Israeli leaders, including Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as top Hamas leaders. Biden has openly denounced the initiative, calling it “outrageous.”

On Monday, ICC’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, in an official statement, announced that his department has “various authentic evidence including videos and images” that proves the war crimes of the Israeli military in Gaza since Oct. 7. Hence, Khan is all set to file an application to ICC’s jury panel to issue arrest warrants against Israeli President, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s defense minister as well as other military leaders. 

“We submit that the crimes against humanity charged were committed as part of a widespread and systematic attack against the Palestinian civilian population pursuant to State policy,” he said.

In an event at Rose Garden, the president commented on the possible warrant, “Let me be clear: whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence — none — between Israel and Hamas. Israel wants to do all it can to ensure civilian protection,” and that “what’s happening is not genocide. We reject that.”

Karim’s application also seeks arrest warrants for Hamas leaders, including Ismail Haniyeh and Yahya Sinwar. The charges against Hamas leaders in Karim’s statement include “extermination, murder, taking of hostages, rape and sexual assault in detention.” Many critics are also denouncing the prosecutor as his statement equivocates both Netanyahu and Ismail Haniyeh, while one of them is an elected President and the other is a leader of a terrorist group. 

Hamas has also officially condemned the initiative, stating, “Hamas strongly condemns the attempts of the ICC Prosecutor to equate victims with aggressors by issuing arrest warrants against a number of Palestinian resistance leaders without legal basis.”

Despite Khan’s attempt, the final decision on whether to issue a warrant will take up to two months. A three-member jury will consider the application first.

Even if the arrest warrant is issued after two months, it’s unlikely that Israeli or Hamas leaders are going to be prosecuted. However, they will face legal issues while traveling abroad. ICC has previously issued a warrant against Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on the grounds of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

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