US House Passes Sanctions Bill Against ICC Over Israeli Arrest Warrants

The House of Representatives has passed a bill imposing sanctions on the International Criminal Court (ICC) after its chief prosecutor requested arrest warrants for Israeli leaders. The Illegitimate Court Counteraction Act passed with strong bipartisan support and is now awaiting Senate action.

Forty-two Democrats joined 205 Republicans to pass the bill, which now moves to the Senate. Despite agreeing with the criticism of the ICC’s actions, President Joe Biden has voiced opposition to the bill.

The legislation would sanction the ICC for any attempts to investigate, arrest, detain, or prosecute any protected persons from the U.S. or its allies. Sanctions include restrictions on property transactions and interests in the U.S., and limitations on visas, admission, or parole for those associated with the ICC’s actions.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), who introduced the bill last month, cited reports indicating that the ICC was preparing to issue arrest warrants against Israeli officials in response to the Gaza conflict. “This sends a strong message to the ICC that we will not tolerate their outrageous attacks on Israel,” Roy said. He emphasized that the bill also aims to protect U.S. sovereignty and servicemembers.

The issue escalated when ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan requested arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, in addition to Hamas leaders. This move has been widely criticized by U.S. leaders from both parties. President Biden described the arrest warrant applications as “outrageous.”

Despite his criticism of the ICC, Biden opposes Roy’s bill, arguing that there are “more effective ways” for the U.S. to respond. The Democrat-controlled Senate, led by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), has not yet indicated whether it will consider the bill. Previous GOP measures, such as a major border security bill, have been set aside by Senate leadership.

Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), a co-sponsor of the bill, called on the Senate to “immediately” pass the legislation, emphasizing the need to support Israel and uphold U.S. sovereignty.

The bill’s passage in the House underscores the strong bipartisan support for defending Israel and ensuring that international bodies like the ICC do not overreach in their prosecutorial efforts. The Senate’s decision will be crucial in determining the future of U.S. policy regarding the ICC and its actions against American and allied leaders.