Trudeau says ICC warrant requests for Israel, Hamas leaders push false equivalency

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday said Canada recognizes the independence of the International Criminal Court, but expressed concerns over the court’s push to prosecute his Israeli counterpart and others.On Monday, the ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan made a request for arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders over the conflict in the Gaza strip, a move supported by three European countries, including key ally France, but something Trudeau called “troubling.”

“What I will say is troubling though is the sense of an equivalency between the democratically elected leaders of Israel and the bloodthirsty terrorists that lead up Hamas,” Trudeau said. “I don’t think that’s helpful.”

Belgium, Slovenia and France each said Monday they backed the decision by ICC prosecutor Karim Khan, who accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his defense minister and three Hamas leaders of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip and Israel.

While no one faces imminent arrest, the announcement deepens Israel’s global isolation at a time when it is facing growing criticism from even its closest allies over the conflict in Gaza. Support for the warrants from three European Union countries also exposes divisions in the West’s approach to Israel.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz headed to France on Tuesday in response, and his meetings there could set the tone for how countries navigate the warrants — if they are eventually issued — and whether they could pose a threat to Israeli leaders.

Prior to Trudeau’s comments, some vocal Liberal MPs had already issued statements.

Iqra Khalid, who spearheaded a parliamentary motion condemning Islamophobia, says Canada must respect the ICC and its independence.

Anthony Housefather argues the decision is drawing a moral equivalency “between the leaders of a recognized terrorist organization and the elected leaders of a democratic state.”

Their colleague Salma Zahid says Ottawa should support the ICC’s legal process, arguing its role is “not to judge moral equivalence, but to impartially consider the evidence.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *