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EU's Borrell urges Israel 'not to intimidate,' 'threaten' ICC judges

By AFP

May 24, 2024 07:42 PM


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EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell on Friday urged Israel "not to intimidate" or "threaten" the judges of the International Criminal Court, whose prosecutor has requested arrest warrants for Israel's prime minister and defence minister.

"I ask everyone, starting with the Israeli government, but also certain European governments, not to intimidate the judges, not to threaten them," Borrell said during an interview with Spanish public television TVE, calling for "respect for the International Criminal Court".

What the court's prosecutor "has done in presenting a case should not be considered as an anti-Semitic attitude," the former Spanish foreign minister added.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said Monday that he requested arrest warrants for as Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as top Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Ismail Haniyeh and Mohamed Deif, on suspicions of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

While he said the Palestinian militant chiefs could be culpable of "extermination", "rape and other acts of sexual violence" and "taking hostages as a war crime", he accused the Israelis of "starvation", "wilful killing", and "extermination and/or murder".

Netanyahu said he rejected "with disgust ... the comparison between democratic Israel and the mass murderers of Hamas", and Biden also stressed that "there is no equivalence -- none -- between Israel and Hamas".

The warrants, if granted by the ICC judges, would mean that any of the 124 ICC member states would technically be obliged to arrest Netanyahu and the others if they travelled there. However the court has no mechanism to enforce its orders.

The Gaza war broke out after Hamas's unprecedented attack on October 7 resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Militants also took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead.

Israel's retaliatory offensive has killed at least 35,800 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.


AFP


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