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‘You have no authority’ - Israeli attorney general, state prosecutor slam decision by The Hague to pursue arrest warrants against Netanyahu & Gallant

State's top legal enforcers say Israel fighting with 'full commitment to the rules of international law'

Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara at a ceremony held for outgoing Supreme Court judge George Karra, at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, May 29, 2022. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara and State Prosecutor Amit Isman issued a joint statement on Wednesday condemning the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to seek arrest warrants against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. 

The two officials, responsible for investigating government figures, stated that the ICC lacks the authority to issue arrest warrants for Israeli leaders. They also affirmed that Israel conducts its operations in accordance with international laws.

In their joint statement, Baharav-Miara and Isman said Israel was forced into the war in Gaza by Hamas and that the IDF conducts itself with “full commitment to the rules of international law.” 

"On October 8, the State of Israel began fighting a war that was forced on it," they wrote. "Israel is a democratic state that fights terrorism and defends its security while adhering to the obligatory legal requirements and with a deep commitment to the law. Israel's security forces, including the IDF, fight with full commitment and adherence to international law."

The statement clarified that the authority to investigate Netanyahu and Gallant rests with their respective offices. It further noted that they are prepared to investigate "any serious claim" against policies or leaders concerning the ICC chief prosecutor's authority to seek arrest warrants.

"Israel's State Attorney's Office thoroughly examines any serious allegations of legal violations by any Israeli officials and enforces the law. The Israeli legal system is equipped to investigate any serious claims, both regarding matters of policy as well as specific cases," the statement added.

The attorney general and state prosecutor restated their objection to the authority of the ICC prosecutor in the matter.

"As Israel has clarified over the years, the international court lacks any authority to hold an investigation on the matter. In any case, the ICC's request to issue arrest warrants against the prime minister and defense minister is baseless."

Israel has not signed the ICC treaty and is not under the court's jurisdiction. Nonetheless, the ICC claims the authority to intervene in countries where the government lacks an independent judiciary and legal system capable of investigating its leaders.

One of the criticisms leveled against last year's judicial reform legislation was that it could undermine the judiciary's independence on the international stage, potentially leading to IDF soldiers or commanders facing charges at the ICC.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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