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Rights group slams Israel attempts to block ICC arrest warrants over Gaza war

A Palestinian man holds the shrouded body of his child as a woman stands beside the bodies of her children, all killed in an Israeli bombing in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 20, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

A Geneva-based rights group has condemned Tel Aviv and its allies for trying to prevent the International Criminal Court (ICC) from issuing arrest warrants against Israeli officials for war crimes in the Gaza Strip.

In a statement released on Sunday, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Euro-Med) expressed concerns about “political pressure” and “incitement campaigns” against the Hague-based tribunal as it is preparing to issue warrants for the arrest of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, minister of military affairs Yoav Gallant, and the occupation army’s chief of staff Herzi Halevi.

“Any attempts to undermine the ICC’s work, harm its integrity and independence, prioritize political interests over considerations of achieving international justice, and intervene on behalf of the perpetrator at the expense of the victim are appalling,” it said.

The ICC can prosecute individuals for war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and aggression.

It has been conducting an investigation on the atrocities committed by the occupying regime in Gaza and the occupied West Bank since June 2014.

The probe, which began in March 2021, implicates Israeli officials for preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza and pursuing an excessively harsh response to the operation conducted by the Palestinian Hamas resistance group in early October.

If warrants are served, the ICC’s 124 member states are obligated to arrest and hand over the defendants to the Hague once they enter their soil.

Recently, Israeli media reported that the regime is holding secret meetings and consultations with its allies, including the United States, Britain, and Germany, in a bid to obstruct the ICC’s work.

Euro-Med urged ICC prosecutor Karim Khan to make legal decisions as soon as possible and follow the tribunal’s procedural rules in accordance with the Rome Statute.

“The court needs to take the long-awaited legal measures and issue arrest warrants for the Israeli officials involved in committing crimes against the Palestinians, prosecuting them and holding them accountable,” it added.

“This will end the impunity that Israel has long enjoyed … [and] prevent the commission of further crimes against the Palestinians as swiftly as possible.”

Israel waged its genocidal war on Gaza on October 7 after Hamas carried out Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

The Tel Aviv regime has so far killed at least 34,454 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured 77,575 others.

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