Hamas drafting legal response to ICC allegations against its leaders

Hamas drafting legal response to ICC allegations against its leaders

ICC chief prosecutor in May requested arrest warrants for Israeli officials, Hamas leaders, on war crimes charges

By Yusuf Alioglu

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – Hamas is drafting a legal memorandum to counter what it says are unfounded accusations by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against three of its top leaders, the Palestinian resistance group said Thursday.

The announcement comes after ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan sought in May arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Galant for alleged “war crimes and crimes against humanity” committed in Gaza.

He also requested arrest warrants for Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, its political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh, and the commander of Hamas' military wing, Mohammed Deif.

In a statement Thursday, Hamas said it was “preparing a comprehensive legal memorandum to respond to all baseless allegations” made by Khan regarding its top leaders.

The group criticized Khan's statement, describing it as “filled with inaccuracies, errors, and bias in favor of the occupying state (Israel).”

Hamas stressed that Khan began his steps “by sympathizing with the Israeli victims (of the Oct. 7 incursion) and visiting them in their settlements, while showing no sympathy for our people who continue to suffer genocide.”

It accused the ICC prosecutor of “mistakenly” considering that Israel “has the right to self-defense like other states,” adding that “the major crime from which all tragedies stem is the occupation.”

The statement claimed that his information was allegedly based on “misleading Israeli media sources that lack the minimum levels of professionalism and credibility.”

Hamas also criticized Khan for “blatantly showing bias by leveling accusations and seeking to issue an arrest warrant against the movement's political bureau chief, Ismail Haniyeh.”

The Palestinian group also underlined what it called negligence in directing any accusations toward the Israeli Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, “who issues orders for all killings, destruction, and acts of genocide in Gaza.”

The legal memorandum being prepared by Hamas aims to challenge the credibility of the ICC's allegations against its leaders, underscoring ongoing legal and geopolitical tensions in the region.

Flouting a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, Israel has faced international condemnations for its continued brutal offensive there since the Oct. 7 Hamas incursion.

Israel has since killed more than 37,400 Palestinians in Gaza, mostly women and children, while more than 85,600 others have been injured, according to local health authorities.

Over eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lie in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its military operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

*Writing by Mohammad Sio

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