ICC issues arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Gallant

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Writes Lloyd Rabaya
The International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan has applied for arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel Defence Minister Yoav Gallant for committing various crimes against Palestinian civilians since October 8, last year.
In a statement, Khan argued that the duo has criminal responsibility for war crimes against humanity for crimes including the starvation of civilians, murder, persecution, and cruel treatment, among other crimes, according to various articles of the Rome Statute.
The Rome Statute is a multilateral treaty that established the ICC, which was established in Rome in 1998 and implemented in 2002.
In the statement, Khan alleges that according to the evidence they gathered, including eyewitness accounts, statements from the Israeli army, audio, videos, and photos, Israel intentionally deprived civilians in the Gaza Strip of essentials for their survival.
“This occurred through the imposition of a total siege over Gaza that involved completely closing the three border crossing points, Rafah, Kerem Shalom, and Erez, from 8 October 2023 for extended periods and then by arbitrarily restricting the transfer of essential supplies – including food and medicine – through the border crossings after they were reopened.
The siege also included cutting off cross-border water pipelines from Israel to Gaza – Gazans’ principal source of clean water – for a prolonged period beginning 9 October 2023, and cutting off and hindering electricity supplies from at least 8 October 2023 until today.
This took place alongside other attacks on civilians, including those queuing for food; obstruction of aid delivery by humanitarian agencies; and attacks on and killing of aid workers, which forced many agencies to cease or limit their operations in Gaza,” the statement read in part.
Khan further alleges that the measures implemented by Israel in Gaza, in the context of an international conflict between Israel and Palestine and a non-international armed conflict between Israel and Hamas, were part of a,” widespread and systematic attack against the Palestinian civilian population under State policy.”
Khan also states that the acts were committed to use starvation as a method of war to collectively punish the civilians in Gaza, eliminate Hamas and return hostages Hamas had allegedly abducted.
“The effects of the use of starvation as a method of warfare, together with other attacks and collective punishment against the civilian population of Gaza are acute, visible, and widely known, and have been confirmed by multiple witnesses interviewed by my Office, including local and international medical doctors.
They include malnutrition, dehydration, profound suffering, and an increasing number of deaths among the Palestinian population, including babies, other children, and women,” the statement continued.
Since last year, Khan has been calling on Israel to take urgent action to allow access to humanitarian aid in Gaza a failure of which, is in contradiction with the Rome Statute.
Khan also reiterated that the area of conflict, Gaza, and the West Bank including East Jerusalem is under Palestine’s jurisdiction.
The application comes after the Prosecutor’s office has reportedly conducted impartial sober investigations and made possible with help from international law experts.