Families of 11 Hamas victims call for International Criminal Court to issue arrest warrant for its leaders

The International Criminal Court in the Hague (REUTERS)
The International Criminal Court in the Hague (REUTERS)

The families of 11 Hamas victims have filed a war crime complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC).

They want the intergovernmental organisation to investigate the October 7 massacre against Israel as "crimes against humanity".

The relatives of the 11 who were either killed or injured in the attack believe it was "the execution of a genocidal plan assumed by its perpetrators".

They said: "In the face of denial in real time, the truth must be defended, these atrocities must be known and engraved in the collective memory."

Lawyer Francois Zimeray also called on the prosecution to "consider the advisability of issuing an international arrest warrant for the leaders of Hamas, following the example of the warrant issued for the Russian President in relation to the aggression in Ukraine," according to CNN.

Zimeray told France's Radio Classique he was careful not to make "excessive qualifications" about what happened but went on to say he believes the "genocide accusation holds up before the law".

It comes after the press freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) also filed a complaint to the ICC over “war crimes” committed against Palestinian journalists throughout the war.

Mourners attend the funeral of Palestinian journalist Mohammed Abu Hattab who was killed in an Israeli strike, in Khan Younis (REUTERS)
Mourners attend the funeral of Palestinian journalist Mohammed Abu Hattab who was killed in an Israeli strike, in Khan Younis (REUTERS)

It called for an investigation of the cases of eight Palestinian reporters killed in civilian areas of Gaza and one Israeli journalist who was killed while covering an attack on a kibbutz on October 7.

RSF said: “Even if these journalists were the victims of attacks aimed at legitimate military targets, as the Israeli authorities claim, the attacks nevertheless caused manifestly excessive and disproportionate harm to civilians, and still amount to a war crime under this article.”

The complaint detailed the killings “constitute war crimes under article 8.2b of the Rome Statute".

The RSF has previously filed similar complaints to the ICC, including in 2018 regarding the killing of journalists during Gaza's border protests called the Great March of Return, as well as in 2021 and 2022.

RSF secretary-general, Christophe Deloire, said: “The scale, seriousness and recurring nature of international crimes targeting journalists, particularly in Gaza, calls for a priority investigation by the ICC prosecutor.”

“We have been calling for this since 2018. The current tragic events demonstrate the extreme urgency of the need for ICC action.”

Figures from the Committee to Protect Journalists show 36 journalists have so far been killed since October 7, among them four Israeli and one Lebanese.

The most recent journalist killed is Mohammad Abu Hattab, a reporter for Palestine TV. Hattab, who was last on air on Thursday outside Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza, was killed along with several members of his family.

Deloire said: “We call on the Israeli authorities to end the bombardments, which amount to war crimes. This disastrous toll adds a new blood-coloured stain to an already tragic story. “