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Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh.

The Jerusalem Institute of Justice last week filed a second complaint with the International Criminal Court in the Hague (ICC) against the head of the Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh. The case relates to the recruitment of about 17,000 Gazan children for the struggle against Israel since 2016.

Founded in 2004, the Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ) is dedicated to cultivating and defending rule of law, human rights, freedom of conscience, and democracy for all people in Israel and the Middle East. The lawsuit was filed by Uri Morad, director of JIJ’s legal department. Apart from filing the complaint, JIJ representatives also met with a senior court official to offer oral arguments in favor of prosecuting Haniyeh.

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JIJ accuses Haniyeh of committing two major war crimes: the actual exploitation of children under the age of 15 for military purposes, using them as child soldiers and as perpetrators of terror attacks;; and the ongoing use of children as human shields and military targets in order to disrupt Israel’s defensive activity.

In addition, Haniyeh is also accused of a widespread and systematic use of torture and unlawful killing by Hamas’ internal security forces in the Gaza Strip.

“The entire procedure was very efficient and orderly, and we felt that we were trusted by the recipients of our complaint,” Morad told Israel Hayom on Sunday, adding, “I believe that the complaint submitted by the Jerusalem Institute of Justice will be handled in a faithful and impartial manner.”

This is a second complaint filed by JIJ against Haniyeh, after a complaint a year ago regarding Haniyeh’s war crimes during the 2014 Gaza war. That initial complaint has passed a preliminary screening and is now under a preliminary examination, as part of the ICC’s overall examination of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel is not a member of the ICC court in the Hague. Lawsuits against PA and Hamas officials have been files at the Hague by private organizations.

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