Blinken Criticizes ICC’s Move Against Israeli Officials, Pledges Congressional Collaboration
The Biden Administration is prepared to collaborate with Congress in responding to the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) request for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders over the Gaza conflict, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Tuesday. This response comes amid Republican calls for US sanctions against ICC officials. Speaking at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Blinken described the ICC’s move as “profoundly wrong-headed” and warned it could hinder efforts to reach a hostage deal and cease-fire in Israel’s conflict with Hamas.
ICC prosecutor Karim Khan recently stated he has reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders “bear criminal responsibility” for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity. Both President Joe Biden and his political opponents have condemned Khan’s announcement, asserting that the ICC lacks jurisdiction over the Gaza conflict.
Although the US is not a member of the ICC, it has supported previous prosecutions, including the ICC’s warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine war. “We’ll be happy to work with Congress, with this committee, on an appropriate response,” Blinken said, without specifying what that response might entail.
In a subsequent hearing, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said he wanted to work with the administration to oppose the ICC prosecutor’s actions. Graham advocated for sanctions against the ICC, aiming to support Israel and protect US interests. Previous threats of legislation to impose sanctions on the ICC by Republicans require support from President Biden and Senate Democrats to become law.
In 2020, the Trump Administration accused the ICC of infringing on US sovereignty with its investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan, imposing asset freezes and travel bans on ICC staff, including then-prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

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