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Families of Israeli hostages to file war crimes complaint against Hamas: ‘Must be condemned’

families-of-israeli-hostages-to-file-war-crimes-complaint-against-hamas:-‘must-be-condemned’
Families of Israeli hostages to file war crimes complaint against Hamas: ‘Must be condemned’

Some 100 family members whose loved ones were taken hostage by Hamas terrorists on Oct.7 are now planning to seek international criminal charges against the terror group’s leaders for their war crimes.

Lawyers for the Hostages and Missing Families Forum — a group representing the nearly 250 hostages’ families — have worked for months to prepare a submission to the International Criminal Court in The Netherlands, and are expected to submit it to the court on Wednesday, the Times of Israel reports.

It will demand that Hamas leaders be charged with “kidnapping, crimes of sexual assault, violence [and] torture” for the cross-border attack, when more than 1,200 Israelis were killed.

Israeli forensic teams who examined the bodies of the dead in the aftermath said they found multiple signs of rape, torture and other atrocities suffered by the victims — seemingly corroborating more than 1,500 heart-wrenching testimonials from the survivors.

If Hamas leaders are charged criminally, it would “exert significant pressure to have the remaining hostages freed and serve as a mechanism for bringing about justice to the victims and their families,” the group said.

A woman walks past a wall bearing portraits of Israelis held captive  by Hamas in Gaza.

The families of hostages held in the Gaza Strip are planning to petition the International Criminal Court to charge Hamas leaders. AFP via Getty Images

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor Karim Kahn has already said he is carrying out an investigation into Hamas’ actions — as well as an investigation into Israel’s military operation in Gaza.

But Robbie Sabel, a law school professor at Hebrew University, said the Hostage and Missing Families Forum’s submission could put pressure on Kahn.

“If further evidence can be presented to the ICC, then this may encourage the prosecutor to advance the investigation,” he said.

Sabel said Kahn has a “reputation for being a fair and reasonable lawyer,” but said he was “of course subject to public pressure.”

Fernando Simon Marman and Louis Hare, two Israeli hostages who, according to the Israeli military, were freed in a special forces operation in Rafah, Gaza.

Israeli officials estimate roughly 100 hostages remain in Gaza. Hamas is also holding the remains of about 30 who were either killed on Oct. 7 or died in captivity.  via REUTERS

Under Kahn’s authority, the International Criminal Court can prosecute individuals for violations of the Geneva Convention.

The Post has reached out to the International Criminal Court and to the Hostages and Missing Families Forum for comment.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has launched its own inquiry into the sexual violence Hamas is accused of committing.

“There are numerous accounts of sexual violence during the abhorrent acts of terror by Hamas on 7 October that must be vigorously investigated and prosecuted,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres previously said in a statement.

“Gender-based violence must be condemned. Anytime. Anywhere,” he said.

The signboard of International Criminal Courts is seen as people carrying Palestinian flags and banners gather in front of ICC, calling for an investigation for attacks on Gaza.

The International Criminal Court can prosecute individuals for violations of the Geneva Convention. Anadolu via Getty Images

Israeli officials estimate roughly 100 hostages remain in Gaza. Hamas is also holding the remains of about 30 who were either killed on Oct. 7 or died in captivity. 

More than 100 others were released by Hamas during a weeklong cease-fire in November.

Since Israel launched its retaliatory assault in Gaza, its military has killed 28,000 Palestinians, according to health officials in the territory.

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