Three Palestinian human rights groups, Al Haq, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, filed a lawsuit on Friday with the International Criminal Court (ICC) asking for an investigation into alleged war crimes by Israel.
The submission, which was made under Article 15 of the Rome Statute, accuses Israel of genocide and war crimes, pointing to their airstrikes and bombing of the Gaza Strip. This submission follows allegations of other Israeli war crimes in the region, including the use of toxic white phosphorous on civilians and attacks on medical services.
The lawsuit asks the Office of the Prosecutor to include in their ongoing investigation of the region crimes against humanity, including apartheid and genocide. It is also asking that arrest warrants be issued for those responsible, which it claims includes Israeli political, military, and administrative personnel, such as President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.
Emmanuel Daoud, the attorney representing the action, said, “There is no place for double standards in International Justice. Whether war crimes are committed in Ukraine or Palestine, the culprits should be held to account.”
In response, according to reporting by Reuters, a spokesperson for Israel’s foreign ministry said, “Israel is also collecting evidence for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by Hamas during the Oct. 7 attack (on Israel) and afterwards, including the use of civilians as human shields (in Gaza).” Families of victims of the October 7 attacks filed their own ICC complaint last week, accusing Hamas of war crimes and genocide. At the time, their lawyer said that, “Hamas terrorists do not deny the crimes committed, which they have amply documented and broadcast … facts cannot therefore be disputed.”
The groups’ lawsuit emphasizes the war’s impacts on civilian populations, citing forced displacement and denial of access to necessities, such as food, water, aid, and electricity. It comes as international groups like the World Health Organization and Red Cross condemn military activity near hospitals in Gaza and stress the importance of following international law. UN officials have also expressed alarm at escalating violence in the West Bank and called for a humanitarian ceasefire.