Angered by Netanyahu Warrant, House Hits Back at ICC

Illegitimate Court Counteraction Act passes 247-155, despite White House opposition
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2024 5:53 AM CDT
House Hits Back at ICC Over Netanyahu Warrant
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., with Rep. Michael Guest, R-Miss., left, and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., rear, depart a meeting with reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 4, 2024.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

House Republicans led a push to impose sanctions against the International Criminal Court on Tuesday in response to arrest warrants for Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Lawmakers voted 247-155 to pass the Illegitimate Court Counteraction Act introduced by GOP Rep. Chip Roy with nearly all Republicans and 42 Democrats voting for it, per ABC News. Though President Biden criticized the ICC's move, his administration was opposed to the bill. "There are more effective ways to defend Israel, preserve US positions on the ICC, and promote international justice and accountability, and the Administration stands ready to work with the Congress on those options," it said, per NBC News.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said he could not support a "partisan" bill that is "dead on arrival in the United States Senate." But some Democrats had joined Republicans in signing a letter calling on Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to impose sanctions against the ICC. It described the charges as "baseless" and accused the ICC of "well-documented historical bias against Israel." Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson said the ICC "has to be punished" for its "unconscionable" action. "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?" he asked.

This is the first time the ICC has targeted the leader of a close US ally, per the BBC. The ICC is also seeking arrest warrants for three Hamas leaders accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity amid the war in Gaza. The bill would revoke any US visas held by ICC officials involved in prosecutions against the US, Israel, or other US ally and restrict them from making property transactions in the US, per ABC and the BBC. Democrats in the Senate are unlikely to take up the legislation. Biden didn't make clear whether he would veto the bill if it did clear the Senate. Neither the US nor Israel recognize the ICC's jurisdiction, though the US previously backed other ICC prosecutions. (Israel reportedly tried to influence the ICC through spying.)

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