Benjamin Netanyahu: What does the international arrest warrant mean?

Benjamin Netanyahu: What does the international arrest warrant mean?

Arrest warrants have been filed with the International Criminal Court against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Gallant and three Hamas leaders. What does the decision mean?

The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecution has requested arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Joaw Gallant, as well as three Hamas leaders, for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Who decides on the arrest warrants?

Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan’s application goes to a chamber of the ICC with three judges: the chair is the judge Iulia Motoc from Romania, there are also the Mexican judge Maria del Socorro Flores Liera and the judge Reine Alapini-Gansou from Benin. There is no deadline within which judges must decide whether to issue an arrest warrant. In previous cases, judges have taken anywhere from a month to several months to make a decision.

Can Israel stop the process?

Israel could at least stop the proceedings by starting its own investigations into alleged war crimes – the chief prosecutor also points out this. Israel is not a state party to the ICC. Khan warned that referring cases to national authorities would only be possible “if they institute independent and impartial legal proceedings that do not protect suspects and do not constitute deception.”

What happens when the arrest warrant is issued?

If judges conclude that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that war crimes or crimes against humanity have been committed, they issue an arrest warrant. The arrest warrant must include the person’s name and the specific crimes for which an arrest is being requested. The judges can also change the arrest warrant applications or only approve parts of the public prosecutor’s application.

Will Netanyahu be arrested?

The ICC’s founding statute requires all 124 signatory states to arrest and extradite any person who is the subject of an ICC arrest warrant if he or she enters their territory. However, the court cannot compel an arrest. The sanction for not arresting a person is referral back to the Assembly of ICC Member States and ultimately referral to the UN Security Council.

What role does the UN Security Council play?

Under the court’s rules, the UN Security Council can adopt a resolution that would suspend or postpone an investigation or prosecution for one year – with the possibility of extending indefinitely.

Are Netanyahu and Hamas leader Sinwar still allowed to travel?

Yes you can. Neither the application for an arrest warrant nor the issuance of an ICC arrest warrant restricts a person’s freedom to travel. However, once an arrest warrant is issued, they risk being arrested if they travel to an ICC signatory state, which may influence their decision-making. Russian President Vladimir Putin, for whom there is already an international arrest warrant, did not travel abroad to the G20 summits for this reason, among other things. Politicians or diplomats are not prohibited from meeting people who have an ICC arrest warrant. However, from a political point of view, this could paint a bad picture.

What further implications could there be for Benjamin Netanyahu?

If the judges conclude that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Netanyahu and Gallant are committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza, it could increase calls for an arms embargo in other countries.

Source: Stern

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