International Criminal Court seeks arrest warrants for Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leaders on charges of war crimes

20 May 2024, 12:43 | Updated: 20 May 2024, 12:58

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar (right)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar (right). Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

The International Criminal Court has said it is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leaders on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The charges related to Hamas' October 7 attacks on Israel and the subsequent war in Gaza, the ICC's chief prosecutor Karim Khan told CNN.

Khan said the ICC is seeking warrants for Netanyahu, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, the group's military leader Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, and chief of its political bureau Ismail Haniyeh.

ICC judges will now consider the evidence collected in the application made by Khan.

The charges against the Hamas leaders include "extermination, murder, taking of hostages, rape and sexual assault in detention".

Karim Khan, chief prosecutor of International Criminal Court (right) during a meeting at the National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, April 22
Karim Khan, chief prosecutor of International Criminal Court (right) during a meeting at the National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, April 22. Picture: Alamy

Read More: 'The world needs to know': Grant Shapps urges Israel to reveal plan for Gaza after war with Hamas ends

Read More: Israel says ‘it wasn’t us’ after Iran's President ‘Butcher of Tehran’ Ebrahim Raisi dies in helicopter crash crash

The charges against Netanyahu and Gallant, meanwhile, include "starvation of civilians as a method of warfare", "wilfully causing great suffering", and "intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population".

Speaking to CNN, Khan said: “The world was shocked on the 7th of October when people were ripped from their bedrooms, from their homes, from the different kibbutzim in Israel."

This is the first time the ICC has targeted the leader of a key ally of the United States.

As the leader of a nation, a warrant would put Netanyahu alongside Vladimir Putin after a warrant was issued for the Russian president's arrest following the invasion of Ukraine.

Reports that the ICC would issue an arrest warrant for Netanyahu have been surfacing for months.

Commenting on the possibility in April, Netanyahu said any ICC arrest warrants against senior Israeli government and military officials “would be an outrage of historic proportions.”

He said Israel “has an independent legal system that rigorously investigates all violations of the law.”

Khan reiterated in his interview with CNN today: “Nobody is above the law” and said anyone with objections is "free, notwithstanding their objections to jurisdiction, to raise a challenge before the judges of the court and that’s what I advise them to do.”

Israel, alongside the United States, is not a member of the ICC, but the international body does claim to have jurisdiction over Gaza, east Jerusalem and the West Bank.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Gordon Ramsay 'lucky to be alive' as star shows off shocking injuries after being involved 'brutal' cycling accident

Gordon Ramsay 'lucky to be alive' as star shows off shocking injuries after being involved 'brutal' cycling accident

Putin is 'not interested in genuine peace' in Ukraine, Rishi Sunak tells world in Switzerland

Putin is 'not interested in genuine peace' in Ukraine, Rishi Sunak tells world leaders in Switzerland

Kate's big comeback: Princess and William share tender moment as she re-joins royals at Trooping the Colour

Kate's big comeback: Princess and William share tender moment as she re-joins royals at Trooping the Colour

The attack, which took place in a garden east Germany on Friday night, saw the knifeman stab four people before police arrived at the scene.

German police shoot dead knifeman at Euro 2024 party after rampage leaves one dead and three injured

Businessman sues Apple after wife finds ‘deleted’ iPhone messages to prostitute

Businessman sues Apple after wife finds ‘deleted’ iPhone messages to prostitute

Olympic cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins is bankrupt, homeless and has "lost absolutely everything", according to his lawyer.

Olympic cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins has 'lost absolutely everything' as star faces selling medals following bankruptcy

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer promises no capital gains tax on sales of homes as he dismisses tax hike claims

Home Secretary calls for 'urgent investigation' after shock footage emerges of police ramming escaped cow

Fury grows as shock footage shows police ramming escaped cow with squad car

Eight Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza - as Palestinian death toll reaches '37,000'

Eight Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack since January

Prince Louis steals the show as he dances along to bagpipes at Trooping the Colour

Prince Louis steals the show as he dances along to bagpipes on Buckingham Palace balcony

Coventry's Radford Road, where the schoolboy was killed

Schoolboy killed in hit and run as police urgently look for driver

Police rammed the cow

Shock as police ram escaped cow on the street, as officers say it 'was hurt while being moved to safety'

Exclusive
c

Angela Rayner condemns 'intimidation' of Labour's Rosie Duffield after she cancels hustings amid 'trolling and spite'

Kate and the royals came out on the Buckingham Palace balcony for the flypast

Kate joins King Charles and other royals on Buckingham Palace balcony for RAF flypast after Trooping the Colour

Exclusive
Ben Habib has hit back at suggestions Nigel Farage could join the Conservative party

Reform deputy hits back at suggestion Nigel Farage could join Tories, after leader tells LBC he could lead merged party

Olympic rings on the Eiffel Tower in Paris

IOC gives 14 Russians and 11 Belarusians neutral status for Paris Olympics