back to top

War Crimes: US Reps Pass Anti-ICC Bill After Netanyahu Indictment

Share

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that imposes sanctions on the International Criminal Court (ICC) following the court’s prosecutor recommending war crimes charges against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

This Republican-led legislation, named the Illegitimate Court Counteraction Act, was approved with a 247 to 155 vote on Tuesday.

Forty-two Democrats joined the Republicans in voting for the bill, despite opposition from the White House.

The bill, spearheaded by Texas Republican Representative Chip Roy, mandates sanctions and visa restrictions on any foreign person working with the ICC in prosecuting the United States, Israel, or any U.S. ally not part of the ICC.

This comes after the ICC prosecutor called for arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, citing war crimes related to the conflict in Gaza. Additionally, the prosecutor sought warrants for three Hamas leaders.

“I am pleased that today the House passed H.R. 8282 — a bill I introduced with Representative Mast, Conference Chairwoman Stefanik, and others — to sanction the ICC if they attempt to investigate, arrest, detain, or prosecute Americans or our allies,” said Roy in a statement on his website.

“This sends a strong message to the ICC that we will not tolerate their outrageous attacks on Israel. But let’s be clear, this isn’t just about Israel; this is about ensuring that our nation’s sovereignty is protected, as well as our servicemembers. Absent decisive leadership at the White House, Congress must stand in the breach defending our allies and our sovereignty.”

He also expressed gratitude for the bipartisan support: “I am grateful for the support of the Republicans and Democrats who voted for this bill, as well as Speaker Johnson and Chairman McCaul’s critical help in getting legislation to the House floor and over the finish line. Additionally, I want to thank Senator Cotton for his strong leadership on the Senate side and look forward to working with him and others to put this on the President’s desk.”

Despite the House’s approval, the bill faces an uncertain future.

It must pass through the Democrat-controlled Senate, where it is unlikely to gain the necessary support. President Joe Biden has also expressed strong opposition to the bill, stating that sanctions against the ICC are not the appropriate response.

If enacted, the legislation would revoke U.S. visas held by ICC officials and restrict their property transactions within the U.S.

The bill reflects deep-rooted concerns among some U.S. lawmakers about the ICC’s jurisdiction and its potential implications for American sovereignty and the protection of its allies.

“The ICC has to be punished for this action,” stated House Speaker Mike Johnson. “We cannot allow this to stand. If the ICC was allowed to do this and go after the leaders of countries whose actions they disagree with, why would they not come after America?”

The bill’s passage follows ICC prosecutor Karim Khan’s statement that he had “reasonable grounds” to believe Netanyahu, Gallant, and top Hamas leaders were criminally responsible for alleged war crimes during the Gaza conflict.

This marks the first time the ICC has targeted a top leader of a close U.S. ally.

Israel and Hamas have both reacted strongly to the ICC prosecutor’s announcements. Netanyahu condemned the charges as a “moral outrage of historic proportions,” while Gallant accused the prosecutor of making a “despicable” comparison between Israel and Hamas.

Hamas, proscribed as a terrorist organization by Israel, the U.S., and others, demanded the cancellation of the warrants, calling Khan’s attempts “to equate the victim with the executioner” unacceptable.

As the debate continues, the focus remains on the international legal and diplomatic implications of the ICC’s actions and the U.S. legislative response.

Read more

Local News