Cooperation, outreach and civil society engagement essential to give life to ICC Arrest Warrants

20 Mag, 2024 | Comunicati Stampa

Brussels/Rome – 20 May 2024

Today, on 20 May 2024, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan issued the request for the first arrest warrants, for war crimes and crimes against humanity, in respect of the situation in the State of Palestine. The Office of the Prosecutor has requested warrants against three representatives of Hamas, for acts committed from at least 7 October 2023, and against two representatives of the State of Israel, for acts committed from at least 8 October 2023.

“No Peace Without Justice welcomes the fact that we are seeing some movement on the situation of Palestine, which has long been under investigation by the ICC,” said NPWJ President Tara O’Grady.

“We hope and trust that the Office of the Prosecutor remains committed to continued independent investigation of crimes under its jurisdiction committed since the first referral on 13 June 2014. It is a concern that apparent inaction by the ICC would have contributed to the political dynamics of impunity, drowning out voices for justice and accountability both in Israeli and Palestinian society.

“We fully support the Prosecutor’s words that the law applies equally to all. NPWJ cautions however that independence and impartiality are not the same as equidistance. This should not be a numbers game: investigating “all sides” does not mean that equal numbers of individuals on each side of the conflict should be held accountable for the human suffering inflicted on civilians. Those who committed atrocities must be held to account irrespective of which “side” of the conflict they claim allegiance.

“We are confident the ICC will discharge its responsibilities impartially and independently in respect of these, and hopefully other, arrest warrants,” President O’Grady continued. “This is only the beginning of the long quest for justice for the victims. If the ICC decides to grant the Prosecutor’s request for those arrest warrants, we look to all States to discharge their responsibilities as well and provide the support, cooperation and protection the ICC needs to fulfil its mandate. In any case, we call on all States to refrain from threatening the ICC, its officials and staff and call on Israel and the United States in particular to ratify the Rome Statute, so they may participate fully in the work of the non-judicial oversight of the Court.

“We urge the ICC to ensure robust outreach to the victims and populations in Palestine and Israel, in appropriate languages and being open to feedback from those stakeholders about what is important to them for their visions of justice and redress. We also call on the Office of the Prosecutor and the Registry to engage fully and transparently with civil society, especially from Palestine and Israel, and together with States Parties, ensure that all human rights defenders are protected from threats against their safety and security because of the work they do to promote justice and accountability.”

For further information, please contact Alison Smith, International Justice Director, on or Nicola Giovannini, Press Coordinator, on