‘Collective Punishment’ – Khan Says Israel Must Comply with International Law

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is worried about the possibility of an arrest warrant by the ICC. (Design: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan has accused Israel of imposing collective punishment on Gaza, emphasizing that no one is immune from prosecution for war crimes or crimes against humanity.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Khan discussed the reactions following his efforts to seek arrest warrants for members of Hamas and senior Israeli officials.

“I am not equating Israel, with its democracy and supreme court, to Hamas. Absolutely not. Israel has every right to protect its citizens and recover hostages. But no one has a license to commit war crimes or crimes against humanity. The means define us,” he stated.

Regarding threats against the ICC, Khan revealed that the institution faces daily threats and pressure. 

He noted that the ICC is actively investigating cases in the Philippines, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Latin America, Georgia, Ukraine, and Palestine. He stressed that their decisions are based on evidence, not political convenience.

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Collective Punishment

Khan highlighted reports from major aid organizations about severe medical conditions in Gaza, including emaciated children and amputations performed without anesthesia. 

He criticized the conduct of the war, questioning the relevance of the Geneva Conventions if such actions are deemed compliant with international humanitarian law.

The ICC top prosecutor emphasized that civilian casualties, though unfortunate in urban conflicts, are distinct from the deliberate targeting of civilians. 

“You can’t have as a common plan collective punishment,” Khan said.

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Arrest Warrants

Khan, announced on May 20 that he has submitted applications for arrest warrants against several Israeli and Palestinian leaders. 

In his statement, Khan revealed that his team has requested the warrants from the court’s pre-trial chamber, where a panel of judges will decide on their issuance.

Among the Israeli officials targeted are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. 

The application, however, also includes top leaders of the Palestinian Resistance: Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, Mohammed Deif, the commander of the Al-Qassam Brigades, and Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas’ political bureau.

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Gaza Genocide

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7. 

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 36,050 Palestinians have been killed, and 81,026 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip. 

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

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The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children. 

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’. 

(PC, Anadolu)

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