Israel-Hamas War

Amal Clooney among experts who advised war crimes prosecutor seeking arrest of Hamas and Israeli leaders

Amal Clooney said the expert panel had agreed unanimously that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that both the Hamas and Israeli leaders had committed war crimes

AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File

International human rights lawyer Amal Clooney served on an expert panel that advised Karim Khan, the chief prosecutor of the world's top war crimes court, who is seeking arrest warrants for leaders of Israel and Hamas.

Clooney said the panel had agreed unanimously that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that both the Hamas and Israeli leaders had committed war crimes, according to a statement.

"We have unanimously determined that the Court has jurisdiction over crimes committed in Palestine and by Palestinian nationals," she said. "We unanimously conclude that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, including hostage-taking, murder and crimes of sexual violence. We unanimously conclude that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity including starvation as a method of warfare, murder, persecution and extermination."

Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders condemned the move to seek arrest warrants as disgraceful and antisemitic. U.S. President Joe Biden also lambasted the prosecutor and supported Israel's right to defend itself against Hamas.

Hamas also denounced the ICC prosecutor’s actions, saying the request to arrest its leaders “equates the victim with the executioner.”

A panel of three judges will decide whether to issue the arrest warrants and allow a case to proceed. The judges typically take two months to make such decisions.

The U.N. Security Council approved a resolution Monday which calls for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Clooney and her husband, the actor George Clooney, are co-founders of the Clooney Foundation for Justice, a nonprofit that provides legal support to victims of human rights abuses. She is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers in London and an adjunct professor at Columbia Law School. 

The New York Times reported that Amal Clooney had received criticism on social media for not speaking up about the Israel-Hamas war.

In her statement on Monday, Amal Clooney said: "As a human rights lawyer, I will never accept that one child’s life has less value than another’s. I do not accept that any conflict should be beyond the reach of the law, nor that any perpetrator should be above the law. So I support the historic step that the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has taken to bring justice to victims of atrocities in Israel and Palestine."

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