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Emphatic ‘No’ from Hungary to ICC’s Netanyahu Arrest Warrant

Hungary Today 2024.05.22.

On Monday, May 20, the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan sought arrest warrants for the head of the Palestinian terror organization Hamas, Yahya Sinwar, as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.  The indictment of the Israeli PM has caused an international uproar, many accusing the ICC of a serious misjudgement and putting the head of the Israeli government on the same level as the leader of an Islamist terror network. The Hungarian government reacted by strongly criticizing the ICC’s arrest warrant.

Benjamin Netanyahu himself rejected Khan’s decision “with disgust,” interpreting it as an example of “the new antisemitism” that has moved from university campuses to the court in The Hague. Where this accusation of “antisemitism” should rest is not entirely clear, but behind the warrants against both Hamas and Israeli officials is a group of prominent British legal experts, some of them with a track record of past statements against Israel.

Karim Khan. Photo: Wikipedia

ICC Chief prosecutor Karim Khan himself is a British-born legal professional of Pakistani-British descent, but as a member of the moderate Ahmadiyya group, he can hardly be accused of Islamist biases. Behind the case is a legal panel made up of experts who have a track record of radical human rights activism and of statements made against Israel that could call the impartiality of their advice into question. Among them, the Lebanese-born British human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, or another British legal expert, Baroness Helena Kennedy. Another member of the legal panel is British lawyer Danny Friedman KC, who in an open letter last year accused the Israel Defense Forces of having run roughshod over the laws of war.

Amal Clooney. Photo: Wikipedia

U.S. President Joe Biden has condemned the ICC’s request for an arrest warrant against Benjamin Netanyahu as “outrageous,” and said that Karim Khan’s call for the Israeli leaders’ arrest for war crimes draws an “equivalence” between Israel and Hamas. US secretary of state Antony Blinken called the application for a warrant “shameful,” pointing out that the court in The Hague has no jurisdiction over the war in Gaza.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has also joined the line of world leaders who have condemned the attempt at the Israeli leaders’ prosecution.

The ICC Chief Prosecutor’s proposal against Prime Minister Netanyahu is absurd and shameful. Such initiatives will not bring the Middle East closer to peace, but only fuel further tensions,

wrote Viktor Orbán on X.

Another prominent Hungarian thinker, Director of the Mathias Corvinus Collegium in Brussels, Frank Füredi, wrote on X that

The ICC is a political institution that caters to the interests of NGOland. In truth it should be called an International Kangaroo court.

Neither the United States nor Israel have ratified the Rome Statute that established the ICC in 2002, so the institution has no jurisdiction on their territory. Yet countries that did, including Hungary, would be obliged to arrest anyone with an ICC arrest warrant found on their territory.


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