The ICC Seeks Arrest Warrants for Israeli and Hamas Leaders

On May 20, 2024 the International Criminal Court (ICC) Office of the Prosecutor filed an application seeking arrest warrants for two Israeli leaders – Benjamin Netanyahu and Yoav Gallant – and three Hamas leaders – Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Diab Ibrahim Al-Masri, and Ismail Haniyeh – for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The application follows investigative findings that detail those crimes and will now be heard by a panel of three judges to determine whether they will issue the arrest warrants. If arrest warrants are issued, it would mean that those identified individuals could be arrested in any of the 124 ICC member states.

This application is separate from the ongoing initiative by South Africa to halt Israel’s offensive on Rafah or ICC court cases demanding an arms embargo against Israel and, if issued, could strengthen those cases.

Biden’s response to the application was to call it “outrageous.” Despite Biden’s calls for “immediate ceasefire” directed towards people disgusted by Israel’s genocide, his statement against the ICC was very clear: “We will always stand with Israel against threats to its security.” The U.S. Congress and Secretary of State are now threatening to impose sanctions on the ICC, specifically on ICC officials, if the warrants are issued.

The investigative evidence and the process of international show the unimaginable level of wrongdoing and crimes against humanity being done by so-called world leaders in the interest of expanding control and power. But their solutions also remain limited when states like the U.S. simply ignore their rulings. We cannot hope or expect those in power to give away their power. It will take regional and global coordination by the masses of people to take that power into our own hands to build a world free from wars and exploitation.