Former Prime Minister Hun Sen is keenly awaiting the ruling of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which intends to arrest Israeli and Hamas leaders over alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity relating to the current conflict in the Palestinian Gaza Strip. 

“We are waiting to see the arrest warrants of the leaders of Israel and Hamas. Will the court issue the arrest warrants or not? Is this international court fair? It already issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin [president of Russia], and now it intends to arrest the Israeli Prime Minister and Hamas leader,” he said.

As he addressed the final day of the “Cambodia's Future Without Genocide, Protecting and Responding through Education and Health Care" conference on May 22 at the former Khmer Rouge Tribunal, the Senate president questioned how the daily deaths in Gaza or other cities in Palestine are thought of by the rest of the world.

He cited the president of one of the world’s largest superpowers as saying that the civilian deaths in Gaza were not an example of genocide. He did not name the president or the superpower, but was believed to be referring to US President Joe Biden.

“If killing people is not genocide, do not make the accusation! If dropping bombs indiscriminately is not genocidal, I don’t know what to say. It’s over! To kill innocent people is not a problem? Thus, in the world, the law has no force. It is only decided by the power of weapons. Whoever is strong will win,” Hun Sen said.

Returning to Cambodia, he reiterated that there is no place for coup d'etats or the seizing of power by undemocratic means, as this is the root of war and the root of genocide.

ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan issued a May 20 statement announcing that he was submitting a warrant for the arrest of several Israeli leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and of the heads of Hamas, over ongoing war activities in the Gaza Strip.

A panel of three judges at the ICC will decide whether to issue the warrants for the Israeli and Hamas leaders and allow the case to proceed. They have two months to decide.

In March 2023, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Putin for war crimes related to the illegal deportation and transfer of children from Ukraine’s occupied territories to Russia during the Russia-Ukraine war.