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Arrest the Hamas Leadership – Petition to the International Criminal Court (ICC)Tuesday 30/04/2024

PETITION TO THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT (ICC)

Dear Mr. Khan, 

I, the undersigned, am gravely concerned by the ongoing atrocities perpetrated by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and other Palestinian armed groups in Israel, parties over which the International Criminal Court (ICC) Pre-Trial Chamber has determined it has jurisdiction. I commend your visit to Israel to meet personally with victims and their families. Given the ICC’s mission to ensure accountability for international crimes, I urge your immediate intervention by requesting arrest warrants against those responsible for these appalling acts and ensuring accountability for the crimes committed.

Beginning on the 7th of October, terrorists belonging to the above-mentioned groups infiltrated Israel to massacre over 1,200 individuals, including children, women, and the elderly, and injured over 5,550 more. The victims of these atrocities include both Israeli nationals as well as nationals from 25 different countries.

Evidence collected by first responders who handled the bodies of the victims, video recordings taken by the perpetrators themselves, and recorded interrogations of the terrorists have revealed the commission of atrocious acts. This includes a systematic campaign of sexual violence, including rape and genital mutilation, castration, beheading, dismemberment, and burning of bodies.

The leaders of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and other armed groups orchestrated a mass abduction of over 240 people, including 40 children. These groups have launched over 10,000 rockets, intentionally targeting Israeli civilian neighborhoods and cities. (The Iron Dome’s efficacy against rocket attacks and Israel’s investment in bomb shelters for its civilians does not negate the blatant unlawfulness of this tactic.)

Israeli civil society groups and human rights defenders are working diligently to preserve evidence of these crimes, which were live-streamed on social media channels by the perpetrators as the massacre was still unfolding. As clear and indisputable violations of international humanitarian and criminal law, they must be included in the Situation in Palestine, which is already open and ongoing.

These crimes include the following war crimes:

  • mutilation, cruel treatment, and torture (art. 8(2)(c)(i) of the Rome Statute),
  • mutilation, cruel treatment, and torture (art. 8(2)(c)(i) of the Rome Statute),
  • the taking of hostages (8(2)(c)(iii)),
  • committing outrages upon personal dignity (8(2)(c)(ii)),
  • intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population (8(2)(e)(i)),
  • pillaging (8(2)(e)(v)), and
  • rape and other forms of sexual violence (8(2)(e)(vi)).

Additionally, crimes against humanity were and are also being committed by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups. These include, among others:

  • torture (7(1)(f)),
  • rape and other forms of sexual violence (7(1)(g)),
  • persecution of an identifiable group on national, ethnic, and religious grounds (7(1)(h), and
  • enforced disappearances (7(1)(i)).

Furthermore, Hamas and Palestinian armed groups’ actions of October 7 could potentially amount to genocide, a crime under the ICC jurisdiction per article 6 of the Rome Statute.

It is imperative that your Office request that the Pre-Trial Chamber issue arrest warrants for the following Hamas officials who exercised command and control of the October 7th attack, in accordance with article 58 of the Rome Statute:

  • Yahya Sinwar (Hamas Chief in the Gaza Strip),
  • Mohammed Deif (militant and supreme military commander of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades),
  • Ismail Haniyeh (Head of the Hamas Political Bureau),
  • Khaled Mashaal (Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau).

The speedy issuance of arrest warrants is essential to ensure their appearance at trial and prevent the continued commission of their crimes, which shocks the conscience of humanity.

The atrocities taking place in Israel are unprecedented, and they cannot remain neglected by the body that has already stated that it has jurisdiction over the crimes committed by Hamas and Palestinian armed groups. Accordingly, I urge you to pursue the aforementioned arrest warrants and ensure accountability for the crimes committed.

Sincerely,

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