An Israeli attorney filed a petition on Monday at the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, accusing him of war crimes against Palestinians.
The petition, filed by Calev Michael Myers on behalf of the Israel-Li (Israel to Me) movement he chairs, and the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, charged that during the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Haniyeh's terror organization "consistently used civilians as 'human shields.'"
"This crime manifested in launching of rockets and mortar shells out of crowded population centers, (frequently) encouraging civilians to remain in areas that constitute potential attack targets for the IDF, and storing rockets and mortar shells in structures used as schools, hospitals, mosques and other civilian facilities," Myers wrote in his petition.
He further noted that "During the fighting, the Hamas fighters fired the rockets indiscriminately. The (trajectory of the) rockets cannot be controlled and aimed strictly at military targets, particularly as the rockets are being launched from civilian population centers. These rockets are forbidden for use according to international law."
The petition claims that the ramifications of the war crimes Haniyeh has perpetrated were particularly harsh and were among the main reasons for the death of over 2,100 Gazans during the conflict.
"Needless to say, the perpetrators of these crimes created fear among Gaza's citizenry, the result of putting their lives in real danger against their will," the petition notes.
Myers went on to say that the ICC at The Hague was established exactly for this purpose, "to protect civilians who fall victim to regimes that brutally trample on basic human rights, through investigation, prosecution and bringing the individuals responsible for these terrible crimes to justice."
Concerning Haniyeh himself, the petition states that he “played a central role in committing the aforementioned crimes. Haniyeh personally—and all the more forcefully through the government he led—encouraged the citizens of Gaza to remain in their homes and did not let them leave despite repeated warnings from the IDF to leave the buildings as they were to be bombarded."