May 23, 2024 | Flash Brief

U.S. Lawmakers Slam ICC Prosecutor’s Bid for Unjust Arrest Warrants Targeting Netanyahu, Gallant

May 23, 2024 | Flash Brief

U.S. Lawmakers Slam ICC Prosecutor’s Bid for Unjust Arrest Warrants Targeting Netanyahu, Gallant

Latest Developments

The leadership and numerous members of the U.S. Congress from both parties denounced International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan’s May 20 announcement seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Leading legislators called for sanctions against Khan and his team.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said, “It is imperative that the Senate, in a bipartisan way, comes up with crippling sanctions against the ICC — not only to support Israel but to deter any future action against American personnel.” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), who has been critical of Netanyahu, said that Khan’s decision was “not only unfair, but … reprehensible,” demonstrating that the ICC “harbors deep biases” towards Israel. “The ICC’s decision … is not only shameful, but also fails to follow protocol and process in a country where it has zero jurisdiction,” said Schumer.

Expert Analysis

“This ICC move is a watershed moment, which spells dangerous ramifications for the West as well as for the court itself. For now, while the judges mull the prosecutor’s request, a proverbial flare has gone up, showing everyone where everyone else stands. Those who hate Israel are now hoping that the mere prospect of it being treated as a criminal state at The Hague will cool its friends and heat its enemies. The United States is trying to give the judges pause by signaling that the issuing of warrants would lead to sanctions and would call the very credibility of the ICC into question.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“The ICC warrant applications for Israel’s leaders threaten U.S. national security by setting a precedent very dangerous for U.S. officials. The United States, like Israel, has refused to join the ICC and has a robust system for self-policing alleged war crimes by its personnel. Yet the ICC has an open investigation of alleged U.S. war crimes relating to Afghanistan. If the United States doesn’t stop the ICC from proceeding against Israeli officials, U.S. officials may well be next.” Orde Kittrie, FDD Senior Fellow

Blinken Says Administration Will Work With Congress on ICC Pushback

Both parties’ leaders in the House also made statements condemning the ICC, with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) saying that the warrant against “democratically elected members of the Israeli government is shameful and unserious.” House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) wrote on X that Congress was “reviewing all options, including sanctions, to punish the ICC and ensure its leadership faces consequences if they proceed.” While the Biden administration has not threatened to sanction the ICC so far, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on May 21 that the administration would consider a proposal from Congress to “find an appropriate response” to ICC prosecutor Khan’s “profoundly wrongheaded decision.”

ICC Sanctions Legislation in House and Senate

On May 7, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) introduced a bill, H.R. 8282, that would impose financial sanctions and a visa ban on ICC personnel “engaged in any effort to investigate, arrest, detain, or prosecute any protected person of the United States and its allies.” The bill has garnered 52 Republican co-sponsors so far. A similar bill, S. 224, was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) in February 2023.

Israel and U.S. Outraged by ICC Warrant Applications for Israeli Leaders,” FDD Flash Brief

Possible Arrest Warrants for Israeli Leaders Expose the Utter Perversity of the International Criminal Court,” by Orde Kittrie

U.S. Legislators Push Back Against Possible ICC Warrants for Israeli Officials,” FDD Flash Brief

Israeli Officials Hold Emergency Meeting to Discuss Possible ICC Arrest Warrants,” FDD Flash Brief

Reviving the Arsenal of Democracy,” FDD Foreign Podicy Podcast

Issues:

International Organizations Israel