Amal Clooney advises ICC prosecutor on seeking Netanyahu and Sinwar warrants

Lebanon-born barrister was on panel of experts Karim Khan consulted before seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister, Hamas chief and others

'I served on this panel because I believe in the rule of law and the need to protect civilian lives,' Amal Clooney said. AFP
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Amal Clooney on Monday voiced her support for the International Criminal Court's lead prosecutor, who said that there were “reasonable grounds” to believe Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar bear criminal responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza and Israel.

The British-Lebanese barrister and co-founder of the Clooney Foundation for Justice was part of a panel of advisers ICC lead prosecutor Karim Khan consulted before seeking arrest warrants for Mr Netanyahu and Mr Sinwar.

Members of the panel released a statement through the Financial Times in which they outlined the reasons behind their decision.

“For months, we have engaged in an extensive process of review and analysis. We have carefully examined each of the applications for arrest warrants, as well as underlying material produced by the prosecution team in support of the applications,” they wrote.

“In our legal report published today, we unanimously agree that the prosecutor’s work was rigorous, fair and grounded in the law and the facts.

“And we unanimously agree that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the suspects he identifies have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity within the jurisdiction of the ICC.”

Mr Khan is also seeking warrants for Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and Hamas leaders Mohammed Diab Ibrahim Al Masri and Ismail Haniyeh.

Other experts who adviser Mr Khan in his decision included Lord Justice Fulford, former judge at the ICC; Judge Theodor Meron, former judge and president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia; and Baroness Helena Kennedy, member of the House of Lords and director of the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute.

In a post on her foundation's Instagram, Ms Clooney reaffirmed the unanimity of the opinion of the legal experts, who came from a variety of backgrounds, and added: “I served on this panel because I believe in the rule of law and the need to protect civilian lives.

“As a human rights lawyer, I will never accept that one child's life has less value than another's. I do not accept than any conflict should be beyond the reach of the law, nor that any perpetrator should be above the law.

“I hope that justice will prevail in a region that has already suffered too much.”

A panel of three ICC judges still needs to consider whether or not to accept the applications for the warrants.

Ms Clooney is a long-time human rights lawyer who was named Time's Woman of the Year in 2022. She rose to wider popularity when she married Hollywood actor George Clooney in 2014.

Updated: May 21, 2024, 8:50 AM