Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro has announced plans to press war crime charges against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This unprecedented step by a Latin American country joins some other international voices that are criticizing Israel’s response to the Hamas October 7 attack.
A Call for Justice on the International Stage
President Petro’s announcement came on the heels of a supportive statement for his Algerian counterpart, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who has urged human rights defenders to compile evidence of war crimes. Colombia’s Foreign Minister, Alvaro Leyva, is slated to meet with the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) prosecutor to formally initiate charges against Netanyahu for his alleged role in the deaths of Palestinian children and civilians.
The Backdrop of Conflict
The charges stem from a series of events that have rocked the Middle East and drawn international condemnation. Following a terrorist attack by the Palestinian paramilitary organization Hamas that resulted in over a thousand civilian casualties, Israel started an extensive military offensive in Gaza Strip, authorized by PM Netanyahu. The Israelis have caused more 10,000 deaths (including thousands of civilians) since the beginning of their offensive.
Global Repercussions and the Path to Accountability
The Colombian President’s decision to recall his ambassador to Tel Aviv previously over what he termed a genocide of Palestinians has set the stage for this legal confrontation. The Israeli government’s tactics in Gaza have been met with fierce criticism globally, with many deeming the bombardments arbitrary and disproportionate.
International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan has signaled that his office is actively gathering evidence, which may lead to an international investigation against Israel’s political and military leadership. This potential probe under ICC’s role in upholding the Geneva Conventions aims to ensure that war crimes do not go unpunished.