Home » ICC arrest request for Israeli PM Netanyahu is unhelpful, says UK

ICC arrest request for Israeli PM Netanyahu is unhelpful, says UK

The ICC prosecutor’s decision to request an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is unhelpful, a spokesperson for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday.


ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said after more than seven months of war in Gaza that he had reasonable grounds to believe that Netanyahu, his defence chief and three Hamas leaders “bear criminal responsibility” for alleged war crimes.


“This action is not helpful in relation to reaching a pause in the fighting, getting hostages out or getting humanitarian aid in,” the spokesperson said, referring to the decision made by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.


The spokesperson said that the ICC did not have the jurisdiction to request the arrest warrants.


“The UK, as with other countries, does not yet recognise Palestine as a state and Israel is not a state party to the Rome Statute”, which outlines the ICC’s areas of jurisdiction, the spokesperson said.


Asked if the police would arrest Netanyahu if he came to Britain, the spokesperson said he would not comment on what he called “hypotheticals”.


The British deputy foreign minister Andrew Mitchell later told parliament that the ICC’s decision would not have an immediate impact on the government’s approval of licences so companies can sell weapons to Israel.


“The fact that the prosecutor has applied for arrest warrants to be issued does not directly impact, for example, on UK licensing decisions but we will continue to monitor developments,” Mitchell said.

First Published: May 20 2024 | 10:27 PM IST