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BREAKING: International Criminal Court Prosecutor Announces Arrest Warrants for Israeli PM Netanyahu, Defense Minister Gallant, and Hamas Leader Sinwar Over Gaza War Crimes

The International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim A. A. Khan KC announced on Monday arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar over war crimes in Gaza.

"I can also confirm today that I have reasonable grounds to believe, on the basis of evidence collected and examined by my office, that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Yoav Galant bear criminal responsibility for the following international crimes committed on the territory of the State of Palestine from at least the 8th of October 2023.

"The crimes include starvation of civilians as a method of warfare, willfully causing great suffering, serious injury to body or health, or cruel treatment, willful killing or murder, and intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population, as well as crimes against humanity of extermination and/or murder, persecution, and allegations of committing other inhumane acts.

"It's alleged that these crimes were committed in the context of the ongoing armed conflict and as part of a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population of Gaza pursuant to a state policy. Unfortunately, these crimes continue to this day.

"My office submits that these individuals, through a common plan, have systematically deprived the civilian population of Gaza of objects indispensable to human survival. We have reached that conclusion based upon interviews with survivors, many eyewitnesses, experts from satellite imagery, statements from Israeli officials, including the two individuals subject to the present application, as well as based upon several hundred authenticated videos, photographs, and audio recordings, many of which were taken and shared by victims and eyewitnesses themselves.

"This systematic deprivation resulted from a decision to impose a total siege on Gaza by completely closing the three border crossing points, Rafa, Kerem Shalom, and Erez, for extended periods of time and by arbitrarily restricting the transportation of essential supplies, including food and medicine, through the border crossings after they were reopened. The total siege also involved cutting off cross-border water pipelines from Israel to Gaza, which is the principal source of clean water for the population in Gaza. It was cut off for prolonged periods beginning on the 9th of October 2023, and it was accompanied by the cutting off or hindering of electricity supplies to Gaza from the 8th of October 2023 until today.

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"That conduct took place alongside attacks that killed civilians, including people queuing for food, the obstruction of aid delivery by humanitarian organizations, and attacks on aid workers that forced many of those same humanitarian organizations to either cease operations or limit their life-saving efforts in Gaza.

"The tragic effect of the use of starvation as a method of warfare against Gaza's civilian population is acute. It's visible and it's widely known, and it's confirmed by multiple witnesses and victims, including local and foreign medical doctors, that starvation has caused and continues to cause deaths, malnutrition, dehydration, and profound suffering among the population. Famine is already present in some areas of Gaza, and it is imminent in others.

"My office charges Netanyahu and Galant as co-perpetrators and as superiors in the commission of these alleged crimes. Israel, like all states, has the right to defend its population. It has every right to ensure the return of hostages that have been criminally and callously taken. Those rights, however, do not absolve Israel of its obligations to comply with international humanitarian law. Intentionally causing death, starvation, injury, and suffering to the civilian population, including so very many women and children, are criminal means to achieve military and political goals. That's what we allege.

"As I have repeatedly underlined since last year in Egypt, in Israel, and in Palestine, and again this year, those who do not comply with the law should not complain later when my office takes action based upon solid evidence. That day has come. Today we underline in the clearest possible fashion that international law and the laws of armed conflict apply to everyone. No foot soldier, no commander, no civilian leader. No one can act with impunity. Nothing on earth can justify willfully depriving human beings, including women and children, babies, the old and the young, of the basic necessities required for life. Nothing, nothing on earth can justify hostage-taking or the targeting and killing of civilians.

"The independent judges of this International Criminal Court are the sole arbiters as to whether the necessary standard for the issuance of warrants of arrest has been met. The judges of the International Criminal Court must now be given the space to do their work and to dispassionately and objectively review the evidence that we have submitted. Should the learned judges approve my applications and issue the requested warrants, I will work closely with the registrar of the court to apprehend the named individuals. I call upon and count on all states, especially state parties to the Rome Statute, to approach this application and the subsequent judicial decision that will be rendered with the same seriousness they have shown in other situations. I also stand ready to work with non-state parties in our common pursuit of justice and accountability.

"It is critical in this moment that my office and all parts of the court continue to conduct our work with full independence and impartiality, and I insist that all attempts to impede, to intimidate, or to improperly influence the officials of this court cease immediately. My office will not hesitate to act pursuant to the provisions of Article 70 of the Rome Statute if such conduct continues and persists. We will also submit further applications for warrants of arrest if and when we determine, after independent and objective analysis, that the threshold of realistic prospect of conviction has been met.

"My office is advancing multiple and interconnected additional lines of inquiry, including concerning reports of sexual violence during the 7th October attacks in Israel and in relation to the large-scale bombing that has caused and continues to cause so many civilian deaths and injuries and so much suffering in Gaza. I renew my call for all parties to the current conflict to comply with these basic principles of law without any further delay. I also wish to emphasize that the principle of complementarity at the heart of the Rome Statute will continue to be assessed by my office as we take action in relation to the alleged crimes and alleged perpetrators, and as we move forward with other lines of inquiry. But complementarity requires us to defer to national authorities only when they sincerely engage in independent and impartial judicial processes that do not shield suspects from accountability and which are not a sham. It requires thorough investigations at all levels addressing the policies and actions underlying these applications."