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US Senate preparing sanctions on ICC employees – Fox

A bipartisan group of lawmakers have reportedly accused the court of “abuse of power” and threatening American interests

US senators have called for punitive action against the International Criminal Court (ICC) after its chief prosecutor sought arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders over the ongoing Gaza conflict, Fox News reported on Thursday. 

Earlier this week, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant of committing “war crimes and crimes against humanity” in the Palestinian enclave. He requested that the ICC issue warrants for their arrest, as well as the arrest of three Hamas leaders believed to be responsible for the October 7 attack, which sparked the latest escalation.  

In response to the move, Republican and Democratic Senators Mike Rounds and Joe Manchin called for a resolution that, according to Fox News Digital, would urge President Joe Biden and Congress to “impose financial sanctions and visa bans on officials of the ICC for an abuse of power that threatens US interests and weakens US allies.” 

The lawmakers said they expect the resolution to serve as a testament to the Senate’s resolve to stand with Israel and reject the ICC’s actions aimed against senior Israeli officials. They also suggested that the resolution would encourage Washington’s allies, many of whom are responsible for funding the ICC, to use their leverage to halt the politicized proceedings.  

Rounds said the ICC’s actions were “unconscionable,” and criticized Khan for effectively comparing Hamas and Israel.  

“Hamas is a brutal terrorist organization while Israel is a democracy and ally of the United States that works hard to uphold international law. This action by the ICC prosecutor draws an equivalency that is devoid of reality. I am proud to lead my colleagues in this resolution that tells the world that we stand with Israel,” he said in a statement.  

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FILE PHOTO: US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina).
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Manchin called the ICC’s decision to charge Israeli officials with war crimes “shocking and disgraceful,” stating that the country was facing “an existential threat in Hamas’s brutal terrorist agenda,” and that it had a “right to defend itself in a manner expected of a nation that abides by the law of armed conflict.” 

Rounds and Manchin’s resolution has been co-sponsored by 19 other senators from both sides of the political aisle. However, it is not yet clear when or if the bill will be brought to the Senate floor. 

Meanwhile, House Republicans have also been working on a bill to sanction the ICC, with House Speaker Mike Johnson calling on the Biden administration to use “every available tool” to prevent the international body from assuming “unprecedented power to issue arrest warrants against American political leaders, American diplomats, and American military personnel.”

May 24, 2024 at 05:00PM

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