Palestinian children look on as people stand on the rubble of a building destroyed during Israeli strikes on Rafah, on the southern Gaza Strip, on November 20, 2023, amid continuing battles between Israel and Hamas.

Amnesty International Australia calls on the Government to support the application by the ICC Prosecutor for arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders

Chief Prosecutor Khan’s application for the International Criminal Court to issue arrest warrants for senior Israeli and Hamas leaders is a landmark moment for international justice.

The Chief Prosecutor’s announcement to seek arrest warrants for the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defence Minister Yolav Gallant and Hamas leaders including Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh for war crimes and crimes against humanity is an historic step toward accountability following decades of impunity.

As a party to the Rome Statute, Australia has a general obligation to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Courts (ICC) investigations and prosecutions. Given the government’s stated commitment to international law, Amnesty International Australia calls on the Australian Government to support the application and the procedures of the Court.

It is now up to the Pre-Trial Chamber to consider the review while the Prosecutor continues their investigation and decides on the application for arrest warrants. All states, including third states not members of the ICC, must respect this decision. If the Court’s judges approve any arrest warrants all ICC states parties must ensure the enforcement of these warrants.

Amnesty International Australia reiterates that the Pre-Trial Chamber of the Court has already affirmed the Court’s territorial jurisdiction over the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Mohamed Duar, Amnesty International Australia spokesperson for the Occupied Palestinian Territories says,

“In the pursuit of justice for victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and to uphold the Court’s independence and impartiality, the Albanese government should affirm its support of the Court’s investigation into the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the application of arrest warrants.

“This follows the International Court of Justice ruling that the population of Gaza is at serious risk of genocide, making it crucial for the Albanese government to support these warrants.

“Those responsible for atrocity crimes must always be held accountable, face trial and accountability regardless of who they are, no one is above the law.

“International law has been established over decades to ensure the safety, dignity and protection of all human lives.

While international law has been flouted with impunity by the Israeli government and Hamas, Australia and the international community must support efforts to ensure the adherence to international law is urgently restored.

Mohamed Duar, Occupied Palestinian Territories Spokesperson

“All states must respect the legitimacy, impartiality and independence of the ICC

“The Australian Government must do everything in its power to see an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza and to ensure that desperately needed humanitarian aid is delivered to the people of Gaza in order to prevent further mass death of civilians.”


The present applications for arrest warrants of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Minister of Defence Yoav Gallant allege the war crimes of starvation of civilians, attacks directed at civilians, and wilful killing and causing great suffering, as well as the crimes against humanity of extermination, including through starvation, and persecution, among others, under the Rome Statute, committed in the Gaza strip from at least 8 October 2023.

Regarding the Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh, the Office of the Prosecutor alleges the crimes against humanity and war crimes, starting on 7 October, of extermination, murder, rape and other sexual violence, hostage-taking, and acts of torture and other cruel treatment in the context of captivity, among others.

Evidence gathered by Amnesty International demonstrates how Israeli forces continue to flagrantly violate international humanitarian law, including since 7 October 2023, through indiscriminate or direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects in the occupied Gaza Strip, which must be investigated as war crimes. Israeli authorities have also failed to comply with measures issued by the International Court of Justice to prevent genocide by deliberately depriving access to sufficient humanitarian aid. Indiscriminate attacks or direct attacks against civilians and civilian objects by Israeli armed forces have also been documented by Amnesty International during the 2008-9, 2014, and 2021 conflicts.

Amnesty International has also documented violations of international law by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups on and since 7 October including the deliberate killings of civilians, hostage-taking and launching indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel. Amnesty International is calling on Hamas and Palestinian armed groups to unconditionally release all civilians who continue to be held hostage in Gaza. Hostage-taking is a war crime. Amnesty International has consistently documented violations of international law committed by Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza, including torture and ill-treatment, indiscriminate rocket attacks into Israel and those resulting in Palestinian casualties in the occupied Gaza Strip.