Amal Clooney advised ICC on arrest warrants for Israeli officials, Hamas leaders

Human rights attorney Amal Clooney on Monday revealed she helped advise the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor behind the arrest warrants for three Hamas leaders, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense ministers.

Clooney was among a panel of legal experts gathered by ICC prosecutor Karim Khan to assess the evidence behind his requests for the arrest warrants, according to a statement on her Clooney Foundation for Justice website.

The requested arrest warrants are for Yahya Sinwar, the head of the Hamas movement in Gaza; Ismail Haniyeh, the top political leader for Hamas; and Mohammed Diab Ibrahim Al-Masri, the commander of the Hamas military wing. Khan said all “bear criminal responsibility” for war crimes against Israel, including sexual violence, kidnappings and extermination.

Clooney, the wife of actor George Clooney, said the panel’s legal findings were unanimous in that there are “reasonable grounds” to pursue charges against those named in the search warrant.

“We have unanimously determined that the Court has jurisdiction over crimes committed in Palestine and by Palestinian nationals,” Clooney said.

“I served on this Panel because I believe in the rule of law and the need to protect civilian lives,” she added later. “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.”

Clooney has represented hundreds of victims of mass aggression and faced criticism in recent months for not speaking up enough against Israel’s wartime conduct in Gaza, which has resulted in the death of more than 35,000 people since early October, per local health officials.

Others on the legal panel included legal experts Theodor Meron, former president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia; Lord Justice Adrian Fulford, a former ICC judge; and Baroness Helena Kennedy, a Labour member of the House of Lords.

A panel of three judges will now determine whether to issue the warrants and allow a case to proceed. The process could take several weeks.

Khan’s request drew sharp criticism from Hamas leaders and Israeli officials, including Netanyahu, who described it as an “outrageous decision.”

President Biden slammed what he also called an “outrageous” request from Khan.

“The ICC prosecutor’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders is outrageous,” Biden said in a statement. “And let me be clear: whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence — none — between Israel and Hamas. We will always stand with Israel against threats to its security.”

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