Israeli attorney general slams ICC prosecutor for seeking warrants

Tel Aviv: Israeli Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara has sharply criticised International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan for applying for the arrest of top Israeli politicians in remarks to the Israel Bar Council reported in the state media.

“The decision of the prosecutor ignores, among other things, the fact that the Israeli legal system has proved its independence in the past, its impartiality, and its commitment to the values of truth and justice,” Baharav-Miara said.

Khan announced a week ago that he was seeking arrest warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as for Hamas leaders.

Baharav-Miara said the Israeli justice system was fully competent to enforce the law.

“We do not shy away from enforcing the law against any person, even with the heads of the military and the state, if there are well-founded suspicions of violations of the law,” she told the Bar Council.

“We don’t need outside help to clarify suspected criminal activity.”

The Israeli military was currently conducting investigations into possible violations during the Gaza War, she said.

The Attorney General noted that the ICC had been established to deal with situations where the law was dysfunctional.

“That is not our situation,” she said.

“The steps taken by the ICC prosecutor contravene the basic legal idea on which the court was founded, the principle of complementarity,” she said, referring to the principle under which functioning states have jurisdiction within their territory.

While many countries have signed and ratified the 2002 Rome Statute establishing the ICC, thus becoming state parties, Israel, the US, and Russia have all indicated that they do not intend to become state parties.

Israel nevertheless agreed to defend its position in the genocide allegation brought by South Africa to a separate UN court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), about the Gaza War.


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