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Amal Clooney Joins Group of Experts Advocating for ICC Arrest Warrants for Israel and Hamas Leaders

Amal Clooney, married to actor George Clooney, assisted in reviewing evidence related to the ICC prosecutor’s arrest warrant applications.

Human rights attorney Amal Clooney was part of an expert panel advising the International Criminal Court (ICC) on seeking arrest warrants against Israeli and Hamas leaders for war crimes charges.

This panel, convened by ICC prosecutor Karim Khan, was tasked with reviewing evidence and providing legal analysis for the arrest warrant applications.

“More than four months ago, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court requested my assistance in evaluating evidence of suspected war crimes and crimes against humanity in Israel and Gaza.

“I agreed to join a panel of international legal experts for this task,” said Ms. Clooney, wife of actor George Clooney, in a statement on the Clooney Foundation for Justice website.

The arrest warrants requested target Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders: Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh.

Ms. Clooney revealed that the panel’s findings unanimously concluded that the ICC has jurisdiction over crimes committed in Palestine and by Palestinian nationals, despite the members having diverse backgrounds.

The panel found “reasonable grounds” to believe that the Hamas leaders committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, such as hostage-taking, murder, and acts of sexual violence.

Additionally, the panel found justifiable reasons to believe that Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Gallant committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, including starvation as a method of warfare, murder, persecution, and extermination.

Previously criticized on social media for not speaking out against atrocities in the Israel-Hamas conflict, Ms. Clooney shared that she joined the panel out of a belief in the rule of law and the protection of civilian lives.

“The law protecting civilians in war was established over 100 years ago and applies globally, regardless of the reasons for conflict,” she added.

Mr. Khan’s application for ICC arrest warrants initiates a deliberation process with a three-judge panel at the Netherlands-based court for international law.

“We assert that the crimes against humanity charged were part of a widespread and systematic assault against the Palestinian civilian population driven by state policy. These crimes, as per our evaluation, are ongoing,” said Mr. Khan in a statement.

Israel, US Condemn ICC Arrest Warrants

Mr. Netanyahu denounced the prosecutor’s decision to seek arrest warrants against him and Mr. Gallant, arguing that it unfairly equates Israeli leaders with Hamas operatives.

He warned that Mr. Khan’s actions set a dangerous precedent undermining the right of democracies to defend themselves against terror groups and aggressors.

“The preposterous charges against me and Israel’s defense minister are an attempt to deprive Israel of its basic self-defense right,” Mr. Netanyahu stated in a statement.

Israel, not an ICC member, faces no immediate prosecution risk even if arrest warrants are issued. However, Mr. Khan’s decision might isolate Israel further on the international stage and deter its leaders from traveling abroad.

President Joe Biden also criticized Mr. Khan’s arrest warrant applications and affirmed Washington’s commitment to Israel’s security.

“Let me be clear: there is no equivalence between Israel and Hamas. We stand with Israel against threats to its security,” President Biden asserted.

Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by Israel and the US, condemned Mr. Khan’s arrest applications as well.

The Hamas leadership urged the ICC to hold Israeli leaders accountable for the deaths of numerous Palestinian civilians, including medical workers and journalists.

Ryan Morgan contributed to this report.

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