Fear is growing in Israel regarding the possibility of the issuing of arrest warrants by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi over war crimes allegations.

The diplomatic efforts to thwart ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Ahmad Khan’s move have failed, according to Israel’s Channel 12 News and although Israel does not recognize the ICC's jurisdiction over its military and political actions in the Gaza Strip and (Judea and Samaria) a.k.a West Bank, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said that:

his office has jurisdiction over crimes in the current fighting between Israel and armed Palestinian groups that covers unlawful actions by all parties.

The arrest warrants are expected to be issued as soon as this week. How would these warrants (if issued) affect the involved individuals, given that as a judicial institution, the ICC does not have its own police force or enforcement body?

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    I find it pretty unlikely the ICC will do anything there, but we'll see. Commented Apr 28 at 19:11
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    I would think it is somewhat of a dupe of all the Putin & ICC questions. politics.stackexchange.com/q/78764/21531 politics.stackexchange.com/q/78761/21531 politics.stackexchange.com/q/78754/21531 with the difference that Russia has a stronger position from the outset, less need to travel and more countries that sympathize with it. This is not, btw, to state that Netanyahu charges would be less or more justified as they were with Putin. Merely to remark on the practical constraints being similar. But I am still curious to see if ICC charges will actually materialize Commented Apr 28 at 19:21
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    On a slightly less farcial note, but not by much. The American Service-Members Protection Act of 2002, colloquially the "Hague Invasion Act", covers not only US personnel, but those of allied nations! en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/… ... The US has already subjected one ICC chief prosecutor to sanctions and asset freezes - theguardian.com/law/2020/sep/02/…
    – Pete W
    Commented Apr 28 at 20:29
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    US Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) had this to say to ICC officials considering action against Israel: twitter.com/TomCottonAR/status/1781066997666607193#m
    – Pete W
    Commented Apr 28 at 20:35
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    Any warrants on Israeli officials without equivalents for Hamas leaderships is likely going to level whatever is left of the current ICC reputation. So the possibility of that happening is pretty slim I'd say.
    – user42328
    Commented Apr 29 at 18:01

1 Answer 1


The choice to execute the warrants is on the host countries. Ironically, it was South Africa (the one suing Israel now in Hague) that decided to ignore the ICC arrest warrants against Putin.

There have been instances of arrest warrants against Israeli officials before (going as far back as Begin). Famously, the UK ignored its own arrest warrants against a former IDF Chief of Staff and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz. In another case, former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni arranged meetings with politicians in the UK, which triggered an immunity law protecting her from such warrants.

Generally, countries friendly to the accused will not act on these warrants (see the above examples), and will utilize various means to achieve that: specific exclusions, diplomatic immunity, sovereign immunity, etc. Those who will - these people will probably not go there.

Bottom line, these warrants are more of a political statement, and an embarrassment for everyone involved, but are rarely enforceable without a strong political will of countries to enforce them. When there is such will, the people involved are no longer in any position of power (e.g.: Miloshovich).

One must also remember that none of these people is a sole decision maker (as opposed to, for example, same Miloshovich), so even if they are arrested - someone else will step in their place. The Israeli government makes decisions as a group, and under supervision of the Knesset (parliament) and the judiciary. Arresting any single individual would be pointless, especially Netanyahu - he'd much rather spend his time in the Dutch prison, than the Israeli one he's headed to once he leaves office.

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    South Africa didn't ignore the ICC warrant on Putin, they indicated they intended to ignore it, but in the event Putin didn't go to SA. The UK didn't ignore a warrant for Shaul Mofaz, in 2004 a judge refused to issue a warrant (on the basis that Mofaz had immunity as a government minister), by the time Mofaz visited in 2015 the law had been changed to give the government greater control over arrest warrants and one wasn't issued for his arrest. Commented Apr 29 at 9:25
  • Just came across another incident I completely forgot about, for which the warrant was in fact issued, conveniently leaked, and the police decided to back off. The UK later apologized for the whole thing, and the warrant was canceled. That was even before the Mofaz and Livni events.
    – littleadv
    Commented May 1 at 3:58

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