US House passes bill to issue sanctions against ICC

Bill against International Criminal Court unlikely to be voted on in Democrat-controlled Senate

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan. Reuters
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The US House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday that would hit the International Criminal Court with sanctions, after its lead prosecutor last month announced he was seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Defence Minister.

The vote, which passed 247-155, follows Republican threats of sanctions after Karim Khan said he was seeking the warrants for Mr Netanyahu and Yoav Gallant, as well as three Hamas leaders.

Neither the US nor Israel are parties to the ICC and do not recognise its authority. The move was widely denounced by both Democrats and Republicans in Washington.

While the House bill had been expected to pass, it failed to attract significant Democratic support, dulling its chances in the Democrat-controlled Senate, where it is unlikely to be brought for a vote.

Both the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House foreign affairs committee acknowledged the bill is unlikely to become law and left the door open to further negotiation with the White House, which has dismissed the legislation as overreach.

Mr Khan said last month – after more than seven months of war in Gaza – that he had reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Netanyahu, Mr Gallant and three Hamas leaders “bear criminal responsibility” for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Updated: June 04, 2024, 10:02 PM