The International Criminal Court (ICC) has called on both Israel and Hamas to respect the international rules of war in the ongoing conflict in the region. ICC prosecutor Karim Khan emphasized the need for compliance during his recent visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.
Khan expressed concern over the dire conditions in Gaza, highlighting the lack of access to necessities such as light and anesthesia during medical procedures. He urged Israel to consider the pain and suffering inflicted on the Palestinian population and emphasized the importance of adhering to international law. Khan stated that if Israel fails to comply with these rules, they cannot complain about the consequences later.
While Israel has vowed to eradicate Hamas and destroy targets linked to the group, Khan emphasized the need to protect civilians and ensure their access to essential resources. He called on Hamas to respect the rules of war and not misuse humanitarian aid brought into the besieged Gaza Strip.
The ICC prosecutor also addressed the issue of violence by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, describing it as unacceptable and warranting punishment. Khan stated that investigations into these incidents are ongoing and will be expedited.
“No Israeli settler armed with an ideology and a gun can think it’s open season against Palestinians,” Khan asserted, emphasizing the need for accountability and justice.
It’s worth noting that Israel doesn’t acknowledge the authority of the ICC since it is not a member of the court. However, Khan clarified that the ICC does have jurisdiction over potential war crimes committed by Hamas militants in Israel and by Israelis in the Gaza Strip.
The ICC has been conducting investigations into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in the occupied Palestinian territories since 2021. The conflict between Israel and Hamas has resulted in accusations of war crimes and human rights abuses from both sides. Israeli tallies claim that over 1,200 Israelis have been killed and approximately 240 taken hostage since Hamas gunmen overran several Israeli communities on October 7. In response, Israel launched airstrikes and launched a ground invasion, resulting in the deaths of over 15,000 Gazans, according to Palestinian health authorities.
The ICC stands ready to assist Israel in investigating and prosecuting those responsible for atrocities committed by Hamas. The court reiterates the importance of compliance with international law to protect civilians and prevent further suffering in the region.