Israeli Commanders Reported to ICC

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is at the top of the dossier of 40 commanders that Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) submitted to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant with U.S. counterpart Lloyd Austin in Tel Aviv on March 9. (DoD, Alexander Kubitza)

By Brett Wilkins
Common Dreams

As the Palestinian death toll from Israel’s obliteration of Gaza topped 20,000 — mostly women and children — a U.S.-based advocacy group this week published a list of 40 Israeli military commanders it says are “prime suspects” for international war crimes investigation. 

Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), founded by Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi before his 2018 assassination, said it submitted a dossier on “the officers and commanders responsible for executing Israel’s war in Gaza” to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“These 40 IDF commanders who have been responsible for planning, ordering, and executing Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment, wanton destruction, and mass killing of civilians in Gaza should be prime suspects in any ICC investigation,” DAWN Executive Director Sarah Leah Whitson said in a statement on Tuesday. “While Israel has done its best to conceal the identities of many of its officers, they should be put on notice that they face individual criminal liability for the crimes underway in Gaza.” 

Although Israel is not a signatory to the Rome Statute that established the ICC, the court’s jurisdiction includes Palestine, subjecting anyone who commits war crimes there to prosecution.

DAWN’s list includes only Israeli officers “from the rank of lieutenant-general and up who command units no smaller than battalion level forces.”

According to DAWN:

“At the top of the list of suspects is Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. On October 9, 2023, Gallant ordered a complete siege on Gaza City, cut off the supply of potable water to the entire population of the Gaza Strip — over 2 million people — and blocked the entry of humanitarian aid. ‘We are fighting human animals and we’ll act accordingly,’ the defense minister said, explaining the decision. One day later, he told Israeli troops on the Gaza border: ‘I have released all the restraints… Gaza will never return to what it was.’

Also included is the head of COGAT (the Israeli military’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories), Maj. Gen. Ghassan Alian. Maj. Gen. Alian is responsible for administering the siege of Gaza, and was responsible for cutting off the supply of water, food, and fuel in the early days of the war. On October 10, 2023, Alian said in an Arabic-language video message to the civilian population of Gaza that Israel was imposing a total blockade, ‘no electricity, no water, just damage,’ adding a chilling warning, ‘You wanted hell, you will get hell.’”

Rasan Aliyan, Israel’s coordinator of government operations in the territories, in 2021. (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

“Intentionally depriving civilians of basic necessities, including by blocking or even impeding the provision of humanitarian relief supplies, is a war crime under the Rome Statute of the ICC,” DAWN noted. “Intentionally targeting medical facilities, ambulances, places of worship, places of culture, and most seriously the indiscriminate bombardment of civilian areas, are crimes in the Rome Statute.”

DAWN’s list comes as South Africa has reportedly submitted documentation to the ICC in pursuit of war crimes charges against Israel. Bangladesh, Bolivia, Comoros, and Djibouti have also asked the tribunal to investigate Israel for alleged war crimes in Gaza.

Nongovernmental actors including the advocacy group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Qatar-based news network Al Jazeerahave also requested ICC probes of Israeli — and, in the case of RSF, Hamas — killings of journalists. 

Karim Khan, the ICC chief prosecutor, has come under fire by Palestine defenders, who say he has shown little interest in investigating Israel’s policies and practices in Gaza and beyond. 

After visiting Gaza in late October, Khan noted the ICC’s ongoing Palestine investigation that goes back to 2014 and highlighted an online portal to which anyone can submit information on alleged war crimes.

[Related: Forcible Transfer of Gazans Is a Crime Against Humanity]

The Palestine Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Committee last month accused Khan of being a “genocide enabler” for his “failure to prosecute Israeli war criminals.”

The ICC has long been accused of almost exclusively targeting African and non-Western individuals who commit war crimes. 

While no longer with the ICC, Luis Moreno Ocampo, the court’s first-ever chief prosecutor, said last month that both Israel and Hamas — whose fighters led the Oct. 7 attacks that killed more than 1,100 Israelis and others — have committed war crimes including genocide during the war. 

Brett Wilkins is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

This article is from Common Dreams.

Views expressed in this article and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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10 comments for “Israeli Commanders Reported to ICC

  1. gwb
    December 24, 2023 at 13:31

    And then there is Israel’s role in Guatemala in the 1980s –


  2. JonnyJames
    December 22, 2023 at 11:43

    As the article and comments mention: Neither Israel nor the US are signatories to the Rome Statute. The ICC has proven to be a cruel joke, and instrument of western imperialism. Israel and the US treat the ICC with contempt and know that there is no such thing as international law, only the law of brute violence and death.

    • Valerie
      December 22, 2023 at 22:11

      I was wondering Jonny, if the ICC are just going to waltz into Israel and arrest these people. (Thinks not)

  3. Vera Gottlieb
    December 22, 2023 at 10:21

    And same old same…as usual…A lot of commotion, a lot of talks, a lot of hot air and in the end: ABSOLUTELY nothing is going to happen. And all the criminals know this full well.

  4. Dfnslblty
    December 22, 2023 at 09:59

    ¿Has it not already been determined by many legal experts that Hamas did not commit war crimes on 07 October?

    • Vera Gottlieb
      December 22, 2023 at 10:22

      Inconvenient truths are buried with the rest of dead Palestinians…

  5. Andrew Nichols
    December 22, 2023 at 02:23

    The top photo is a tragic picture of a POC cordially greeting a racist, in charge of killing other POC. Ultimate Uncle Tom. Just like his POC colleague at the UN standing up for genocide of the same POC.

    • Susan Siens
      December 22, 2023 at 11:23

      At this point in time, the U.S. could not pursue its goal of white supremacy without a large number of people of color serving that goal. Dr Leon called such people as Austin and that UN ambassador MINSTREL DIPLOMATS (minstrel ministers?). Austin is busy making money serving the military-industrial complex which actually includes him as the owner? CEO? of a weapons supply company. Who needs white people when black and brown people do such a good job of promoting racism and its master, which is capitalism?

    • mary-lou
      December 22, 2023 at 11:36

      curious picture: what’s with the hands?

  6. anon
    December 21, 2023 at 20:14

    The ICC is reserved for cheeky African leaders who fail to hand over their natural resources to Blackrock.

Comments are closed.