warrant woes

Israeli defense establishment learned of ICC warrant application through CNN

A senior official told JI that the International Criminal Court’s move amounted to ‘a PR stunt’ that made ‘a mockery out of its own values and the entire premise of humanitarian law’

Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Karim Khan, prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, speaks at Security Council meeting on reports of the Secretary-General on the Sudan and South Sudan at UN Headquarters.

Israel’s defense establishment learned of the International Criminal Court’s effort to issue arrest warrants against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Monday through CNN’s report on the issue, Jewish insider has learned.

The defense establishment did not have prior notice that the ICC was preparing to issue the warrants, a senior official with knowledge of the matter said. Officials found out about the move when CNN International’s communications team touted the “exclusive interview” between CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour and ICC prosecutor Karim Khan.

“We were informed of the warrants via a CNN interview,” the official said. “The ICC produced a PR stunt — reflecting their political and corrupt nature over professional channels or even over communicating via its official platforms. Aside from the method of publication, in requesting the warrants themselves, the court is making a mockery out of its own values and the entire premise of humanitarian law.”

“The double standard and refusal to acknowledge Israel’s right to defend itself, as well as the failure to recognize our extraordinary efforts to protect human lives, is in fact, antisemitic,” the official added. 

A delegation had been slated to travel to Israel on Monday to prepare for an upcoming visit by  Khan, but did not board the plane. 

Khan announced his application for the arrest warrants in an official statement shortly after the publication of the CNN interview.

Gallant said on Tuesday, “The attempt made by the ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan to turn things around will not succeed — the parallel he has drawn between the Hamas terrorist organization and the State of Israel is despicable. The State of Israel is not a party to the Court and does not recognize its authority. Prosecutor Karim Khan’s attempt to deny the State of Israel the right to defend herself and ensure the release of the hostages held in Gaza, must be rejected explicitly.”

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), formerly the House majority leader, raised concerns about the timing of the announcement. “The prosecutor’s action is particularly counterproductive given that he was scheduled to meet Israeli officials in a matter of days to discuss the investigation,” Hoyer said. “Instead, he announced these charges on CNN before giving the Israeli government an opportunity to comment, which the Israeli government indicated it was prepared to do.” 

The rollout of the application for the warrants is likely to deepen concerns on Capitol Hill and beyond over the politicized nature of the court. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) called the move “an absurd perversion of justice.”

Sherman further called for a cessation of funding to the ICC. “Those funds would be better spent supporting conflict victims like those in Ethiopia, where the ICC took no action during a war that killed 600,000 in just two years including through forced starvation, or the Yazidis, whose community leaders pleaded with the ICC to pursue legitimate genocide charges against ISIS and its supporters only to be turned away,” he said. 

“The fact that the ICC has failed to act in these cases yet has, for the first time in its history, chosen to go after a democratically elected government in a country with an independent and robust judiciary starkly reveals how illegitimate the court has become.”

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