Response to ICC Prosecutor’s Request for Arrest Warrants for Hamas & Israeli LeadersTuesday 21/05/2024

The Jerusalem Institute of Justice welcomes the ICC Prosecutor’s request for the issuance of
arrest warrants for Hamas’ leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohamed Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh. We
are disappointed that Hamas’ leaders were not charged with the crime of genocide, despite
constantly expressing their fervent intent to exterminate all Israeli nationals and Jews, and
live streaming the evidence of how they brought this intent to action on October 7th.

We are appalled that the Prosecutor intentionally delayed this maneuver, seeking to pair it
with a request for arrest warrants for Israeli leaders Benjamin Netanyahu and Yoav Gallant.
If the Pre-Trial Chamber approves of this linkage, it will draw a false moral equivalence
between the parties to this conflict.

Since its establishment, the ICC has refrained from pursuing democratically elected officials
whose armies are engaged in wars of self-defense. It is fundamentally reckless to break from
this precedent for the first time when the democratic officials in question are the leaders of
the world’s only Jewish state, and at a time of rising global antisemitism. This development
will only serve to validate the claims of Hamas’ sympathizers across the globe, inspiring
more frequent and more violent attacks on Jewish people across the Diaspora.

The State of Israel has demonstrated that it is able and willing to investigate its own soldiers
and officials for any alleged violations of international law, including international
humanitarian law. Consequently, and in accordance with the principle of complementarity,
one of the most basic principles of the ICC, the Court should refrain from interfering.
The Prosecutor’s case against Israel rests on charges of “starvation” in seeming ignorance of
the fact that unprecedented levels of aid have entered Gaza since October 7th, including
400,000 tons of donated food.

Jerusalem Institute of Justice has sought the arrest of Hamas’ leaders through repeated
requests to the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor since 2017, highlighting their systematic use of
torture, indoctrination of children, recruitment of child soldiers, and the abuse of civilians as
human shields. If they had been arrested for those crimes years ago, perhaps October 7th
never would have happened.

Despite today’s disappointing developments, we remain committed to pursuing justice for the
survivors and victims of Hamas’ atrocities, including through continued engagement with the
Office of the Prosecutor.

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