ICC Threatens to Charge Israel With War Crimes as It Battles Hamas Terrorists in Gaza
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The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor Karim Khan has warned that he's considering war crimes charges over Israel's conduct of the war and blockade of supplies into Gaza.
Khan warned, "Israel has clear obligations in relation to its war with Hamas, not just moral obligations but legal obligations to comply with the laws of conflict."
The United Nations is also collecting evidence, saying Israel may be committing the crime of "collective punishment" with its siege.
A spokesman for the group Justice Now! demonstrating at the International Criminal Court, said, "We want the International Criminal Court to hold Netanyahu accountable for the war crimes and crimes against humanity that Israel is committing."
But nations are not charged with war crimes. Individuals are charged. And those charges don't come after weeks but, in most cases, after many years of investigation. The International Criminal Court would also have to prove that Israeli officials willfully tried to kill civilians or cause suffering.
Geoffrey Corn, former U.S. Army Senior Advisor on law of war issues, currently leads the Center for Military Law and Policy at Texas Tech University. He says war crimes are not committed because civilians die, but how and why they die.
Corn told us, "We don't define a war crime in an attack by what occurs. We define a war crime in an attack by the decision to launch the attack. So it's a conduct-based equation, not a result-based equation. And so when we look at the images of destruction and civilian suffering and war, and we jump to the conclusion that that must be a war crime, that's like saying one plus 'I don't know' equals war crime."
PHOTO: Image taken from a video released by the Israeli Defense Forces on Nov. 14, 2023. An Israeli soldier holds a weapon in Gaza City. (Israel Defense Forces via AP)
The Israel Defense Force's Code of Ethics sets a very high bar, stating, "Every human being is of value regardless of his or her origin, religion, nationality, gender, status or position. The IDF servicemen and women will act in a judicious and safe manner in all they do, out of recognition of the supreme value of human life."
Andrew Tucker, an expert in international law at the THinC Foundation in The Hague, Netherlands, says, "That doesn't mean Israel doesn't make mistakes, it doesn't mean Israel doesn't do wrong things. It simply means that in terms of process, in terms of decision making, it's, I think, indisputable that Israel holds itself to the highest moral and legal standards."
Those who want Israelis charged for war crimes are upset with Karim Khan for not having already issued arrest warrants, with the anti-Israel BDS Movement branding Khan a "genocide enabler."
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But some believe it's all but assured Israelis will be charged, with so many international agencies, including the United Nations, aligned against the Jewish state.
Corn said, "I think most Israeli military leaders know that no matter how hard they try to actually comply with the law and do their best to deal with this difficult situation, they're going to be condemned."
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