Blinken Says He Wants To Work With Congress To Punish the ICC

Blinken Says He Wants To Work With Congress To Punish the ICC

The Biden administration opposes the ICC case against Israeli leaders after backing the court against Russiaby Dave DeCamp May 22, 2024 at 3:17 pm ET CategoriesNews

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday said he wanted to work with Congress on legislation to punish the International Criminal Court (ICC) for seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Blinken was asked by Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing if he would support legislation to counter “the ICC sticking its nose in the business of countries that have an independent, legitimate democratic judicial system.”

Blinken replied, “Given the events of yesterday, I think we have to look at the appropriate steps to take to deal with again, what is a profoundly wrongheaded decision.”

The ICC was previously sanctioned by the US under the Trump administration for its plans to investigate alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan. The Biden administration reversed the sanctions, but the US pressure worked to get the court to announce the focus of its Afghanistan investigation would be on the Taliban and ISIS-K.

The ICC’s chief prosecutor announced warrants for Netanyahu and Gallant on Monday for their role in the slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza, which implicates Blinken and other top US officials for supporting the onslaught. The ICC is also seeking warrants for Hamas leaders for the October 7 attack on southern Israel and the taking of hostages.

The State Department has said it would rather Israel kill Hamas leaders than have them face trial in The Hague. “We absolutely believe that Hamas should be held accountable. That could either be through the prosecution of the war effort by Israel. It could be by being killed. It could be by being brought to justice in an Israeli court,” said State Department spokesman Matt Miller.

The Biden administration is opposing the ICC efforts against Israeli and Hamas leaders despite backing its warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin. The US says the ICC doesn’t have jurisdiction to pursue Israeli leaders since Israel is not a member of the court, but neither is Russia and Ukraine. While not having full UN membership, the State of Palestine is a signatory to the Rome Statute, making it a member of the ICC.