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Amal Clooney helped convince ICC prosecutors to issue arrest warrant for Benjamin Netanyahu, Hamas leaders

Amal Clooney played an instrumental role in making the case for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leaders for suspected war crimes in Israel and Gaza.


Clooney announced on the Clooney Foundation for Justice website Monday that she was asked by the ICC to join a panel of international legal experts to evaluate evidence of suspected war crimes.


After an extensive legal review, the panel determined unanimously that the ICC has jurisdiction over crimes committed in the course of Israel’s war against Hamas, recommending both Hamas and Israeli leaders be held accountable.


“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,” Clooney wrote of the panel’s determination.


Israeli leadership did not escape the recommendations of the panel, which singled out both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and hardline Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for crimes against humanity including “starvation as a method of warfare, murder, persecution and extermination.”


Clooney, 46, an accomplished Lebanese British human rights lawyer, co-founded the Clooney Foundation for Justice with her husband, Academy Award winner George Clooney.

Joining Clooney on the panel were a range of international legal experts and academic advisers in international law, including international humanitarian law and international criminal law. Two members were former judges at criminal tribunals at The Hague.


Clooney was a vocal proponent of prosecuting war crimes committed in Ukraine, even addressing a UN panel in April 2022 when she called the war-torn country “a slaughterhouse.”


However, she has up until now weathered scattered criticism online for a perceived reticence about speaking out on the Israel-Hamas war.


“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,” she wrote.


“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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