Miércoles, 22 de mayo, 2024

Responding to the application for arrest warrants by the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Minister of Defence Yoav Gallant, as well as Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh, for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Israel and in the State of Palestine, specifically in the occupied Gaza Strip, from at least 7 October 2023, Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said:  

“No one is above international law: no leaders of armed groups, no government officials – elected or not, no military officials. Regardless of the cause they are pursuing, no one is above the law.

“This move by the ICC Prosecutor sends an important message to all parties to the conflict in Gaza and beyond that they will be held accountable for the devastation they have waged on the peoples of Gaza and Israel.

“Those who are suspected of responsibility for crimes under international law in Israel and the OPT should face trial and accountability, no matter how powerful or how high-ranking they are.

“The application for arrest warrants by the ICC’s prosecutor in the situation in the State of Palestine is also a long-awaited opportunity to end the decades-long cycle of impunity in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT)  and to restore the credibility of the international justice system as a whole.

“All states must respect the legitimacy of the court, they must refrain from any attempts to intimidate or pressure the court to allow the judges to conduct their work with full independence and impartiality.

“It is now for the Pre-Trial Chamber, while the office of the prosecutor is continuing its investigations, to promptly review and decide these first applications for arrest warrants. All states, including third states not members of the ICC, must respect this decision. If the Court’s judges approve any arrest warrants all ICC states parties must ensure the enforcement of these warrants.”


The present applications for arrest warrants of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Minister of Defence Yoav Gallant allege the war crimes of starvation of civilians, attacks directed at civilians, and wilful killing and causing great suffering, as well as the crimes against humanity of extermination, including through starvation, and persecution, among others, under the Rome Statute, committed in the Gaza strip from at least 8 October 2023.

Regarding the Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh, the Office of the Prosecutor alleges the crimes against humanity and war crimes, starting on 7 October, of extermination, murder, rape and other sexual violence, hostage-taking, and acts of torture and other cruel treatment in the context of captivity, among others.

These applications still need to be reviewed and approved by a Pre-Trial Chamber of the Court, before arrest warrants can be issued. The Office of the Prosecutor also stated that investigations are ongoing. This means that further applications, both for other persons and alleged crimes, could still follow.

Amnesty International has long called for the ICC’s Prosecutor to take immediate concrete action to expedite the investigation opened in March 2021, with regard to potential crimes under the Rome Statute of the ICC committed since 13 June 2014 in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. On 29 October and again in November 2023, the ICC Prosecutor belatedly issued statements confirming that the ICC’s ongoing investigation into the situation in Palestine would cover acts committed by all sides in Israel and the OPT on and after 7 October.

Israeli authorities have so far failed to promptly, thoroughly and independently investigate war crimes and other violations committed by the Israeli army across the OPT. And Palestinian authorities have failed to investigate crimes and violations by Hamas and other armed groups.

Evidence gathered by Amnesty International demonstrates how Israeli forces continue to flagrantly violate international humanitarian law, including since 7 October 2023, through indiscriminate or direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects in the occupied Gaza Strip, which must be investigated as war crimes. Israeli authorities have also failed to comply with measures issued by the International Court of Justice to prevent genocide by deliberately depriving access to sufficient humanitarian aid. Indiscriminate attacks or direct attacks against civilians and civilian objects by Israeli armed forces have also been documented by Amnesty International during the 2008-92014, and 2021 conflicts.

Amnesty International has also documented violations of international law by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups on and since 7 October including the deliberate killings of civilians, hostage-taking and launching indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel. Amnesty International is calling on Hamas and Palestinian armed groups to unconditionally release all civilians who continue to be held hostage in Gaza. Hostage-taking is a war crime. Amnesty International has consistently documented violations of international law committed by Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza, including torture and ill-treatment, indiscriminate rocket attacks into Israel and those resulting in Palestinian casualties in the occupied Gaza Strip.