KEIR Starmer has been called out for remaining silent after the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) requested an arrest warrant for Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu – along with his defence minister Yoav Gallant and three Hamas leaders – is accused of perpetrating war crimes in Gaza by chief prosecutor Karim Khan.

Israel and the US, neither of which are signed up to the ICC, have spoken against the move. The UK, which nominated Khan for the chief prosecutor role, has also disputed it.

However, other nations and leading human rights charities have backed the ICC prosecutor.

Starmer has remained silent.

READ MORE: 'Excuses for genocide': David Cameron told to resign over backing Benjamin Netanyahu

Craig Murray, the former British ambassador and writer, shared a statement from Starmer which had been issued on March 17, 2023 – the same day the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Russian despot Vladimir Putin.

Murray wrote: “This is very strange, I can't find the ‘human rights lawyer’ Keir Starmer's statement on the ICC warrant against Netanyahu.

“I wonder why that might be?”

The National: Keir Starmer pictured at a campaign event in Essex today.

SNP MP Philippa Whitford called for Starmer (above) to issue a statement defending the ICC’s decision to seek the arrest warrants.

“Keir Starmer is a human rights lawyer, and yet we've not heard any criticism from him so far”, she said.

“He could have criticised it in the Chamber. I think he certainly could have issued a comment quite quickly. We're already halfway through the second day and he hasn't.

“He certainly hasn't spoken out in support of the ICC.”

Whitford, who has worked as a medic in Gaza and said the conflict had a personal impact on her, went on: “What we're already seeing is both the UK Government and the Labour Party undermining international humanitarian law in trying to defend the indefensible.

“They come up with various kinds of wishy-washy word salads trying to defend Israel's actions.

“But if you then start undermining the courts, you are removing any ability to have independent arbitration of international law, and then it becomes a free for all.”

READ MORE: Stephen Flynn warns UK is 'complicit' as ICC seeks arrest warrant for Netanyahu

Speaking in the Commons on Monday, the Tories’ “deputy foreign secretary” Andrew Mitchell claimed that the ICC did not have the jurisdiction necessary to seek an arrest warrant for Netanyahu.

Israel has also made this claim – but the ICC does have a remit to investigate and prosecute crimes in occupied Palestine after a ruling in 2021.

Whitford said it was “quite shocking” to hear Mitchell “seek to undermine one of the main international courts and arbiters of … international humanitarian law”.

She added: “If these international independent bodies are not the arbiter, what was implied yesterday from Andrew Mitchell was literally the Foreign Office makes it up as it goes along.”

The National: Sunday Morning

In the chamber on Monday, David Lammy (above), Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, backed the independence of the ICC.

“Arrest warrants are not a conviction or determination of guilt but they do reflect the evidence and judgment of the prosecutor about the grounds for individual criminal responsibility,” he said.

“Democracies who believe in the rule of law must submit themselves to it.”

The Labour leader has previously faced intense criticism for saying he believed Israel had “the right” to cut off water and power to occupied Gaza, something he later denied despite recordings of the exchange.

He did issue a statement linked to the ICC on Monday, which was reported in the Sri Lankan media.

In it, Starmer "urged the British Government to take a leading role in referring the perpetrators of the international crimes committed against Tamils to the International Criminal Court", according to news website

Labour has been approached for comment.