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Amal Clooney Recommends War Crimes Charges in Israel-Hamas Conflict

Amal Clooney Recommends War Crimes Charges in Israel-Hamas Conflict

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, alongside a panel of international legal experts, has recommended that the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) seek arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and leaders of the militant Hamas group. This announcement was detailed in a letter posted Monday on the Clooney Foundation for Justice’s website.

Clooney, renowned for her work in international law and her marriage to actor George Clooney, revealed that she and her colleagues unanimously agreed on the recommendation. They urged ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan to pursue the warrants based on alleged war crimes committed during the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

Khan, in a separate announcement, confirmed his intention to seek these warrants, asserting that actions by both Israeli leaders and Hamas during the seven-month war amounted to war crimes.

“I served on this Panel because I believe in the rule of law and the need to protect civilian lives,” Clooney wrote. “The law that protects civilians in war was developed more than 100 years ago and it applies in every country in the world regardless of the reasons for a conflict.”

The panel included experts in international humanitarian law and international criminal law, with two former judges from criminal tribunals in The Hague among its members. Their decision to recommend the arrest warrants was unanimous, and they also published an op-ed in the Financial Times outlining their stance.

A panel of three ICC judges will now decide whether to issue the arrest warrants, a process that typically takes around two months.

In his announcement, Khan accused Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders – Yehia Sinwar, Mohammed Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh – of war crimes against humanity in both Gaza and Israel.

Netanyahu and other Israeli officials have condemned the move, labeling it disgraceful and antisemitic. U.S. President Joe Biden also criticized the prosecutor’s actions, affirming Israel’s right to self-defense against Hamas.

Despite the ICC’s involvement, Israel is not a member of the court. Thus, Netanyahu and Gallant do not face immediate risk of prosecution even if the warrants are issued. However, the threat of arrest could complicate their international travel. Hamas is already designated as a terrorist organization by many Western countries.

The current conflict between Israel and Hamas erupted on October 7, when Hamas militants crossed into Israel, killing approximately 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking 250 hostages.

In response, Israel has launched a fierce campaign to dismantle Hamas in Gaza. The fighting has resulted in the deaths of over 35,000 Palestinians, with at least half being women and children, according to Gaza health officials who do not differentiate between civilians and militants.

The war has precipitated a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, displacing roughly 80% of its population and leaving hundreds of thousands on the brink of starvation, according to United Nations officials.



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