Congress Threatens Retaliation for ICC Arrest Warrants

( – The International Criminal Court recently warned Israeli leaders that they could potentially face arrest warrants due to the Israeli military’s actions in the Gaza Strip in the ongoing war against Hamas, and now U.S. Congress members from both parties are threatening retaliation through legislation.

After the ICC floated the warrants against Israeli officials, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the U.S. and President Joe Biden to intervene and help stop the warrants. The Israeli leader said the Jewish state would accept no attempt by the court to undermine Israeli’s “inherent right to self-defense,” which he believes “would set a dangerous precedent.”

The Israeli military as well as Palestinian militia groups have both been under investigation by the ICC since the last surge of violence in the region prior to the October 7th Hamas attack, which was Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” in 2014.

On Monday, April 29th, House Speaker Mike Johnson published a statement about the rumored warrants and called the action “disgraceful” and “lawless.” He then called on Biden himself to challenge the ICC’s jurisdiction, which Johnson said has the potential to “create and assume unprecedented power” against his nation’s own political leaders, diplomats, and military personnel.

Johnson was also one of several GOP lawmakers who have blasted the ICC, and some Democrats also criticized the court, such as Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania.

The ICC, which was created in 1998 with the Rome Statute and established in 2002, includes 124 member states. Among states that did not sign the statute are the bigger players like Russia, China, and the U.S. Israel also did not sign to recognize the court’s jurisdiction. These nations argue that the ICC is not needed because they have the capacity to pursue crimes against humanity cases.

The ICC is meant to step in during situations where a member nation is unwilling or unable to prosecute individuals responsible for such crimes. Although the UN General Assembly endorses the international court, it is independent and does not have a police force, meaning it’s up to member states to pursue suspects and that makes prosecutions by the court difficult to execute.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry passed the information along to missions abroad about the arrest warrant rumors but did not specify where those rumors originated.

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