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Amal Clooney helped ICC weigh Gaza war crimes evidence

Lebanese-British barrister Amal Clooney pictured at the New York Public Library in New York City on September 28, 2023
Lebanese-British barrister Amal Clooney pictured at the New York Public Library in New York City on September 28, 2023 - Copyright AFP/File ANGELA WEISS
Lebanese-British barrister Amal Clooney pictured at the New York Public Library in New York City on September 28, 2023 - Copyright AFP/File ANGELA WEISS

Amal Clooney helped the International Criminal Court weigh evidence that led to the decision to seek arrest warrants for top Israeli and Hamas leaders, the human rights lawyer said Monday.

The high-profile British-Lebanese barrister posted a statement on the website of the Clooney Foundation for Justice, which she founded with her husband, American actor George Clooney. 

Both she and the foundation had previously been criticized on social media for not speaking out over the civilian death toll in Gaza.

Clooney said she was asked by prosecutor Karim Khan to join an expert panel to “evaluate evidence of suspected war crimes and crimes against humanity in Israel and Gaza.”

The statement came the same day Khan said he was seeking arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as top Hamas leaders.

“Despite our diverse personal backgrounds, our legal findings are unanimous,” Clooney said, adding there were “reasonable grounds to believe” that Hamas’ Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh engaged in “hostage-taking, murder and crimes of sexual violence.”

With Netanyahu and Gallant, meanwhile, there are “reasonable grounds to believe” the two have engaged in “starvation as a method of warfare, murder, persecution and extermination.”

Khan thanked Clooney in his statement announcing the decision to seek the arrest warrants.

Clooney and other members of the panel also wrote an opinion piece in the Financial Times on Monday supporting ICC prosecutions for war crimes in the conflict.

As Hamas, Israel and top ally the United States all denounced the move, the experts wrote that they “unanimously agree that the prosecutor’s work was rigorous, fair and grounded in the law and the facts.”

Clooney, in her statement, said that “my approach is not to provide a running commentary of my work but to let the work speak for itself.”

“I served on this panel because I believe in the rule of law and the need to protect civilian lives,” she added.

“The law that protects civilians in war was developed more than 100 years ago and it applies in every country in the world regardless of the reasons for a conflict.”

AFP
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