Biden administration signals it will support push to sanction ICC

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The Joe Biden administration will work with Congress on doable sanctions towards the International Criminal Court after its prosecutor introduced it was looking for arrest warrants for senior Israeli and Hamas officers, US secretary of state Antony Blinken mentioned on Tuesday.

Congressional Republicans have signalled they plan to introduce laws that will impose prices on the court docket for its determination and are anticipated to drive a vote on a measure that would lay naked the divisions with the Democrats over the Israel-Hamas struggle.

Jim Risch, the highest Republican on the Senate overseas relations committee, requested Blinken at a listening to whether or not he would support laws to counter “the ICC sticking its nose in the business of countries that have an independent, legitimate democratic judicial system”.

Risch mentioned he and different members have been engaged on laws to tackle the court docket’s actions, which he described as “wrong-headed”.

Blinken’s openness to bipartisan co-operation over the ICC is an indication of the extent of anger in Washington over its request for arrest warrants for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and defence minister Yoav Gallant.

Blinken advised the committee that whereas the “devil’s in the details”, the Biden administration would take into account Republican proposals and “take it from there”.

“We want to work with you on a bipartisan basis to find an appropriate response,” Blinken mentioned.

The administration of Donald Trump in 2020 sanctioned high ICC officers in response to their efforts to examine alleged US struggle crimes in Afghanistan. The sanctions have been lifted by the Biden administration in 2021, though on the time it mentioned it was opposed to the court docket’s actions relating to Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories.

The Biden administration lifted the sanctions “to find the best way to protect our service members who served in Afghanistan”, Blinken mentioned, including that the ICC’s arrest warrant utility had modified its calculus.

“Given the events of yesterday I think we have to look at the appropriate steps to take to deal with . . . a profoundly wrong-headed decision,” Blinken advised the committee.

Republicans haven’t indicated who or what they’d sanction, however US officers anticipate the measures would goal prosecutor Karim Khan and others concerned within the investigation.

The sanctions could possibly be related to these imposed by the Trump administration on the ICC’s then chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and the court docket’s head of jurisdiction Phakiso Mochochoko for his or her investigation into alleged US struggle crimes in Afghanistan. The sanctions froze their American property and banned their journey to the US. The Biden administration has not but indicated what sort of sanctions it would support.

White House press secretary Karine-Jean Pierre on Tuesday mentioned the administration “is having discussions . . . with the [Capitol] Hill on the next steps”.

Republicans have signalled they’re united of their intention to censure the court docket. Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson is anticipated to maintain a vote on sanctions as quickly as this week.

But the view of the Democrats is much less clear. While the Democratic management, together with Senate Majority chief Chuck Schumer and House Minority chief Hakeem Jeffries, have criticised the court docket, they haven’t but mentioned whether or not they would support sanctions.

Progressives similar to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont have mentioned they support the ICC and its actions.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham praised Schumer’s response to the ICC warrant utility and urged him “to follow strong words with strong deeds”.

“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,” Graham mentioned.

In an interview with MSNBC on Tuesday, Netanyahu mentioned his response to the ICC’s announcement was “no different from what President Biden said, this is outrageous and many people across the political spectrum in the United States . . . have called it exactly that”.

“It’s a rogue prosecutor who’s out to demonise the one and only Jewish state,” he added.

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