Amal Clooney amongst 'shameful' legal panel advising ICC on Israeli and Hamas arrests

Amal Clooney was named as one of the experts who advised the International Criminal Court (ICC) to seek arrest warrants for top Hamas and Israeli leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Fox News reports, a move that has been slammed by the White House as "outrageous" and "shameful."

Amal Clooney is an internationally recognized human rights barrister and also the wife of actor George Clooney.

"More than four months ago, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court asked me to assist him with evaluating evidence of suspected war crimes and crimes against humanity in Israel and Gaza. I agreed and joined a panel of international legal experts to undertake this task," Clooney stated on the Clooney Foundation for Justice website

The ICC's chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, confirmed on Monday that he was making "applications for arrest warrants" for Netanyahu as well as Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant for alleged war crimes in Gaza and for Hamas terrorist leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Diab Ibrahim Al-Masri, and Ismail Haniyeh. Khan said in a statement that he was "grateful for the advice" he was given by a panel of experts that included Clooney.

US President Joe Biden called the move "outrageous" and said there is "no equivalence" between Israel and Hamas. "The ICC prosecutor’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders is outrageous. And let me be clear: whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence — none — between Israel and Hamas. We will always stand with Israel against threats to its security," he stated, according to the Washington Post. 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated in response to the decision: "We reject the prosecutor's equivalence of Israel with Hamas. It is shameful."

Clooney's statement continued: "Despite our diverse personal backgrounds, our legal findings are unanimous ... As a human rights lawyer, I will never accept that one child’s life has less value than another’s. I do not accept that any conflict should be beyond the reach of the law, nor that any perpetrator should be above the law. So I support the historic step that the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has taken to bring justice to victims of atrocities in Israel and Palestine."

The panel also published an op-ed in Financial Times that read: "The attacks by Hamas in Israel on October 7 and the military response by Israeli forces in Gaza have tested the system of international law to its limits."

It also said that "there are reasonable grounds to believe that the suspects he identifies have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity within the jurisdiction of the ICC" and that "It is not unusual for the prosecutor to invite external experts to participate in an evidence-review, under appropriate confidentiality arrangements, during the course of an investigation or trial."

Clooney has also "represented victims of ISIS in the only three trials in the world in which ISIS members have been convicted of genocide and in five other trials convicting ISIS members of war crimes and crimes against humanity," per the ICC website.

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