The ICC Prosecutor has requested arrest warrants against Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders. 

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Charges Against Hamas:

  • Crimes against humanity: Extermination, murder, rape, sexual violence, torture (related to October 2023, attacks and the war in Palestine).
  • War crimes: Hostage-taking, torture, cruel treatment of hostages.

Charges Against Israeli Leaders:

  • Crimes against humanity: Extermination, murder, persecution, inhumane acts.
  • War crimes: Starvation, willful killing, attacks on civilians, deprivation of essential supplies.

Legal and Political Implications

  • Jurisdiction: Palestine has been a member of the Rome Statute since 2015, giving the ICC jurisdiction over crimes committed in its territory, including Gaza and the West Bank.
  • Binding Nature: ICC decisions are binding on State Parties, which must cooperate in arrests and extraditions.


  • Israel’s Non-Membership: Although Israel is not a party to the Rome Statute, the ICC can still prosecute crimes committed by nationals of both State Parties and non-state Parties (such as Israel) on the territory of a State Party (Palestine).
  • Enforcement: ICC relies on State cooperation for arrests and enforcement of its decisions.

International Criminal Court (ICC)

  • The ICC operates under the Rome Statute, an international treaty.
  • Rome Statute: The treaty establishing the ICC, which outlines the court’s functions, jurisdiction, and structure. It was adopted on July 17, 1998, and entered into force on July 1, 2002.
  • Amendments: The Rome Statute has been amended to include definitions of the crime of aggression and other procedural updates.
  • Headquarter: The Hague, Netherlands.
  • Membership: 124 countries are parties (137 Signatories) to the Rome Statute (as of 2024). Notable non-members include the United States, China, Russia, India, and Israel.

Purpose and Function

  • Mandate: To prosecute individuals for the most serious offenses of international concern:
  • Genocide
  • Crimes against humanity
  • War crimes
  • Crimes of aggression
  • Nature: A court of last resort, intervening when national jurisdictions are unable or unwilling to prosecute.

Key Principles

  • Complementarity: The ICC acts only when national courts do not prosecute crimes effectively. It does not replace national judicial systems but complements them.
  • Jurisdiction:
  • Crimes committed on the territory of a member state.
  • Crimes committed by nationals of member states, even if the crime occurs in a non-member state.
  • Crimes referred to by the United Nations Security Council.

International Court of Justice (ICJ)

  • Established: 1945
  • Headquarter: The Hague, Netherlands
  • Authority: States that ratify the UN Charter become parties to the ICJ Statute. Non-UN member states can also become parties to the ICJ by ratifying the ICJ Statute.
  • Purpose: To settle legal disputes between states and provide advisory opinions on international legal questions.
  • Consent: States must consent to the Court’s jurisdiction, either through treaties, special agreements, or declarations accepting compulsory jurisdiction.
  • The ICC was established as a court of last resort to prosecute the most heinous offenses in cases where national courts fail to act. Unlike the International Court of Justice, which hears disputes between states, the ICC handles prosecutions of individuals.

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