hostages' families at The Hague
hostages' families at The Hagueאייל רדושיצקי

Hundreds of hostage family members went to The Hague today (Wednesday) and filed a report with the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Hamas leaders for the organization's actions during the horrific events of October 7, along with dozens of lawyers from Israel and around the world. Thousands of Jews who came from all corners stood by them in solidarity.

Hamas captivity survivor, Itay Regev, released after 54 days with his sister Maya, said: "The most important thing I can do is speak on behalf of those left behind about the fear, sleep deprivation, and sexual abuse the girls there experience on a daily basis. The hostages are out of time. We must get everyone out of there before it is too late."

Yamit Ashkenazi, sister of Doron Steinbrecher, said: "My little sister was kidnapped from her bed, from what was supposed to be the safest place in the world for her. The world must wake up. The world needs to know that my sister is in a tunnel somewhere, cold, hungry, without medication, and exposed to sexual violence for 131 days."

The families went with a clear message: exposing Hamas' crimes to the world. The immediate goal of the report is to issue arrest warrants against Hamas leaders. This is expected to put significant pressure on releasing the remaining hostages and serve as a mechanism for bringing justice to the victims and their families. If Hamas leaders choose to take refuge in countries like Qatar or Turkey, which are not subject to the rulings of the International Criminal Court, those countries will have to decide whether they become havens for war criminals and international fugitives or extradite them in accordance with the warrant.

Dr. Shelly Aviv Yeini, Head of the Legal Team, Hostage and Missing Families Forum, said: "Submitting a detailed report to the International Criminal Court - the ICC is a significant step emphasizing the war crimes committed by Hamas and others since the shocking events of October 7. These crimes, including genocide, hostage-taking, enforced disappearance, torture, and sexual violence cannot and should not go unpunished. Criminals must be held criminally responsible for their atrocities. We rely on the ability of the International Criminal Court to bring justice to the hostages and their families. This is part of the mechanism of exerting pressure to release the hostages and encouraging countries around the world to take legal action against those responsible for these heinous acts. This represents international recognition that holding hostages is always illegal."

Hamas captivity survivor, Raz Ben Ami, released after 54 days, said: "Today is Valentine’s Day, and Ohad, my husband, the love of my life, and the father of my girls, is still being held hostage in Gaza. I think about him every day and every night. On the 7th of October, when hundreds of terrorists invaded my kibbutz, my paradise became a living hell. My husband and I were kidnapped from our beds, in pajamas, and brutally taken into Gaza."

"My love, I hope you can hear me, I hope you can feel me. I am here, waiting for you. We came here today to demand justice. The world cannot stay silent. Every second my husband is there is a danger to his life. He has no time."

Gal Gilboa Dalal, brother of Guy Gilboa Dalal who was kidnapped from the NOVA festival, and a survivor of the festival, said: "When I got inside the festival, my baby brother was waiting for me at the entrance, he was so excited to see me and so happy that I came, it was his first festival. As soon as I was rescued, I learned that a hostage video of my baby brother was released by Hamas. On the video you can see my baby brother laying on the floor, his shirt is ripped, looking at a camera saying his name, in a dark room. He seems frightened, confused and helpless. 131 days ago, Guy, my baby brother, went with his 3 best childhood friends to a peace and love music festival. One of them has been kidnapped with him, and two were brutally murdered."

"We have no way to reach him, speak with him, or even know how he is, while he is subjected to physical, sexual, and psychological abuse on a daily basis at the hands of brutal terrorists, along with 133 other innocent hostages. The struggle against the murderous Hamas terror organization is not just a problem for the estate of Israel, but for the entire world, the world cannot stay silent. It is vital that the international community get involved, that pressure be applied by the world."

Yamit Ashkenazi, the sister of Doron Steinbrecher, said: "On Oct 7th, a quiet Saturday morning, hundreds of terrorists infiltrated our peaceful Kibbutz. They came into our homes – violated us, raped us, murdered us, kidnapped us. My little sister was kidnapped from her bed, from what was supposed to be the safest place in the world for her.

"3 weeks ago, Hamas released a video of my sister. She looked so frail, sick and afraid.

"The kibbutz I grew up in had turned into a town of horrors. I was locked in a safe room for almost 24 hours with my husband and two young children, while terrorists are trying to break in. We have lost so many friends – almost 10% of the kibbutz members were murdered, while 19 were kidnapped.

"The world must wake up. The world needs to open its eyes, to look us in the eyes, and begin acknowledging what we went through. The world needs know that my sister is in a tunnel somewhere, cold, hungry, without medication, and exposed to sexual violence for 131 days. The world needs to scream with me and demand that my baby sister, along with 133 other hostages, will be freed immediately."

Nadav Rudaeff, the son of Lior Rudaeff, said: "We’re simple, life-loving, and humane people. The events of October 7th were, to say the least, inhumane. The terrorists of Hamas-ISIS documented their action. They did not spare children, women or men - whether Jewish, Thai or Bedouin.

"We are here today to submit a formal complaint against the leaders of Hamas-ISIS for their crimes. This complaint includes charges such as genocide, kidnappings, crimes of sexual violence, torture, and much more. The families expect that the ICC would issue arrest warrants against Hamas’s leaders for their crimes and for the rest of the world to follow with sanctions.

"We have paid and are still paying heavy prices on behalf of those who hate us. Do not let them make you the next ones, Do not let inhumane extremists evade responsibility for their ongoing crimes."