'No one is above the law' Jordan Foreign Minister says on Netanyahu's ICC arrest warrant

The US has denounced the International Criminal Court's move as 'outrageous'

The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, March 31, 2021. Reuters
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Jordan has voiced support for the International Criminal Court after its prosecutor requested an arrest warrant for Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, despite denunciation by Washington, a crucial ally of the kingdom.

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, said on Monday that he had also requested warrants for Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, and three top Hamas commanders, over alleged war crimes, seven months into the war in Gaza.

“No one is above the law,” Jordan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ayman Safadi said after meeting Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom in Amman on Tuesday.

Mr Safadi said the court and other international institutions “perform their role so justice can run its course”.

“Let this process take its scope. Everybody has to respect its decisions when they are issued,” he said.

The kingdom, which has a peace treaty with Israel, has intensified its diplomatic offensive against Israel for its actions in Gaza after international ceasefire efforts floundered in the last several months.

The country of 10 million people is dependent on the US for aid and security. Last month, it helped Israel take down missiles and rockets launched by Iran.

The kingdom, however, is calling for an investigation into “war crimes” in Gaza, with Mr Safadi saying Jordan has been doing everything it can to bring about that objective.

The Gaza war started on October 7 with an attack by the Iran-backed militant group Hamas on southern Israel in which 1,200 were killed.

More than 36,600 people have been killed in the subsequent Israeli invasion of Gaza, according to Palestinian health officials. War crimes allegedly committed by the two sides were the basis for Mr Khan’s request, which is still subject to review by ICC's pretrial judges.

“Nobody should speak before the court decides what it wants to do,” Mr Safadi said

On Monday, US President Joe Biden said the ICC cannot equate Israel’s actions to Hamas and described the warrant against the Israeli officials as “outrageous”.

Neither the US nor Israel is party to the Rome Statute, which established the court. Jordan, however, is.

Mr Billstrom said that Sweden has reservations about putting the cases against Hamas and Israel “on the same plate”.

“You could argue whether it was a good thing to put these cases om same plate because after all Hamas is a terrorist organisation. Israel is not," Mr Billstrom said.

The court, established in 2002, has no power of its own to enforce its warrants. Among the high-profile figures it has accused of war crimes is Russian President Vladimir Putin.

An arrest warrant was issued for Mr Putin in March last year, for crimes in Ukraine.

Updated: May 21, 2024, 5:57 PM