The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, has requested arrest warrants against three Hamas leaders, including Yahya Sinwar, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as his Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, accused of crimes of war and crimes against humanity for the October 7 attacks against Israel and the subsequent war in Gaza, as stated by the prosecutor on Monday in an exclusive interview with CNN and confirmed by the court in a statement.

In the statement, Khan states that he has requested arrest warrants for Yahya Sinwar, head of Hamas in Gaza; Ismail Haniye, political leader of Hamas in exile; and Mohammed Diab Ibrahim Al Masri, known as Mohammed Deif, head of Hamas’s military wing (the Al Qassam Brigades), “based on evidence collected and examined by his office.” He has also sought arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Gallant, as he has been rumored to do for some time, which has put Israeli leaders on alert.

Netanyahu had said through the social network that “Israel hopes that the leaders of the free world will firmly oppose the ICC’s outrageous attack on Israel’s inherent right to self-defense.” “We hope that they use all the means at their disposal to stop this dangerous measure,” requested the far-right, without specifying. The Israeli press had been reporting in recent weeks that the court was preparing arrest warrants against the prime minister and other senior officials for their role in the Gaza war.

Khan explained in his statement that the requests are the result of “an independent and impartial investigation” conducted by his “hard-working” office, “guided by the obligation to equally investigate incriminating and exculpatory evidence.”

Now, judges at the Hague-based court will have to decide whether or not to approve the attorney general’s request. Khan has stated that “the independent judges of the International Criminal Court are the sole arbiters of whether the standard necessary for the issuance of arrest warrants has been met.”

“If they accept my requests and issue the requested orders, I will work to arrest the named individuals. I count on all Rome Statute Member States to take these requests and the subsequent judicial decision with the same seriousness that they have shown in other situations, fulfilling their obligations under the Statute. “I am also willing to work with non-member states in our common pursuit of accountability,” the attorney general detailed. The Rome Statute is the founding treaty of the ICC, which has been signed by 124 countries, but Israel is not among them.

Spain funds ICC investigation

Spain is part of the ICC and, in fact, last January the Council of Ministers approved a voluntary contribution of 500,000 euros to the Trust Fund of the Prosecutor’s Office of the International Criminal Court for the year 2024. “Spain, responding to its commitment to the fight against impunity and international criminal justice, contributes financially to the work of the Prosecutor’s Office,” he reported in a statement. For Spain, it is of “particular importance” to support some of the investigations of that court, among which is one into crimes that have allegedly been committed in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, – which opened in 2021 and within the framework of which the This Monday, the chief prosecutor requested the arrest warrants.

The measure had been proposed by the Minister of Social Rights, Consumption and Agenda 2030, Pablo Bustinduy, who assured at that time that the Government “with this decision shows coherence and firmness.” He recalled that, to the other initiatives of the Executive, such as the campaign for the recognition of the Palestinian State, “is added the demand that the massive violations of human rights in Palestine be investigated and that those responsible be held accountable before a court.”

For her part, the second vice president of the Government, Yolanda Díaz, celebrated through the social network the decision of the Council of Ministers, ensuring that the funds approved for the ICC will contribute to the investigation carried out by the court into “the barbarity against the Palestinian people.”


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