U.S. Warns ICC Against Prosecuting Israel

(IntegrityPress.org) – The International Criminal Court (ICC) is reported to be preparing to serve arrest warrants for some of Israel’s top officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, over Israel’s military action against Hamas in Gaza.

The ICC, which is a permanent court situated in the Netherlands that targets individuals accused of heinous crimes such as genocide and war crimes, has not yet announced warrants relating to the October 7 massacre by Hamas, or to Israel’s retaliatory invasion of Gaza, but lawmakers both in the U.S. and elsewhere are growing increasingly concerned that it may soon target Israeli authorities.

Neither Israel nor the U.S. are members, or party states as they are known, of the ICC. Several U.S. lawmakers have warned the ICC that it risks humiliating itself and overstepping its jurisdiction should it try to arrest Israeli politicians or military officials over the war in Gaza. The warnings have been issued from both sides of the political aisle, with Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) warning that it would act as a “fatal blow” for the standing of the ICC and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) echoing his warning that such a move would diminish what credibility the ICC still holds.

May lawmakers have been quick to accuse the ICC of treating Israel unfairly and seeking to punish it for defending itself. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) complained that the ICC had ignored calls to arrest Hamas terrorist leaders for the acts of mass rape, murder, and kidnapping of Israelis on October 7 in what he called the “worst attack on Jews since the Holocaust”.

He called for the ICC to face consequences should it push ahead with arrest warrants. Rep. Sherman was not alone in this, with Sen. Cruz recommending “sanctions against the Court” at a minimum, and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) calling on the Biden administration to allow the U.S. to “use every tool” to prevent the ICC from issuing such “illegitimate” arrest warrants.

U.S. officials are also reported to be concerned that arrest warrants for Israeli officials could put a spanner in the works to secure a ceasefire and hostage return deal, and could set a dangerous precedent for the ICC to issue arrest warrants for American military and diplomatic personnel in future.

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