House passes GOP bill to sanction ICC as it seeks arrest warrant for Netanyahu

Biden reacts to ICC push for arrest warrants for Israeli Prime MinisterThe ICC’s top prosecutor is seeking a global arrest warrant for both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar for war crimes and crimes against humanity.Francis Chung/politico/AP
Published June 4, 2024

The U.S. House on Tuesday passed a Republican-led bill that would impose sanctions on the International Criminal Court after its top prosecutor recommended war crimes charges against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The legislation passed in a 247 to 155 vote. Forty-two Democrats crossed party lines to help Republicans pass the bill despite opposition from the White House.

The Illegitimate Court Counteraction Act, led by Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy, would require mandatory sanctions and visa restrictions on any foreign person working or providing funds for the ICC in prosecutions against the U.S., Israel or any other U.S. ally that is not party to the ICC.

The vote came weeks after the international court’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, filed applications for warrants of arrest for Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Khan said in a statement their office had “reasonable grounds to believe” the two leaders bore responsibility for “war crimes and crimes against humanity” committed in Gaza. Khan said the alleged crimes included starvation of civilians, intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population and more.



RELATED: House passes proposal sanctioning top war-crimes court after it sought Netanyahu arrest warrant

FILE – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, front, attends a wreath-laying ceremony marking Holocaust Remembrance Day in the Hall of Remembrance at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre, in Jerusalem, Israel, on May 6, 2024. The cease-fire proposal announced by President Joe Biden has placed Prime Minister Netanyahu at a crossroads, with either path likely to shape the legacy of Israel’s longest-serving and deeply divisive leader. (Amir Cohen/Pool Photo via AP, File)
Published June 4, 2024

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House passed legislation Tuesday that would sanction the International Criminal Court for requesting arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials.

The 247-155 vote amounts to Congress’ first legislative rebuke of the war crimes court since its stunning decision last month to seek arrest warrants for the leaders of Israel and Hamas. The move was widely denounced in Washington, creating a rare moment of unity on Israel even as partisan divisions over the war with Hamas intensified.

While the House bill was expected to pass Tuesday, it managed to attract only modest Democratic support, despite an outpouring of outrage at the court’s decision, dulling its chances in the Senate. The White House opposes the legislation, calling it overreach.

Both the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee acknowledged the bill in question is unlikely to become law and left the door open to further negotiation with the White House. They said it would be better for Congress to be united against the Hague-based court.



RELATED: 42 House Dems defy Biden, vote for ICC sanctions in response to Netanyahu threats

Several Democrats voted for the bill despite opposition from the White House

Published June 4, 2024

Forty-two House Democrats voted with Republicans on a bill to sanction the International Criminal Court in response to its top prosecutor seeking arrest warrants against top Israeli officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The bill, led by Reps. Chip Roy, R-Texas, and Brian Mast, R-Fla., passed along bipartisan lines in a 247-155 vote on Tuesday. Two Republicans voted “present” on the bill, while the remaining 205 voting GOP lawmakers voted in favor of it. The 155 votes in opposition to the bill all came from Democrats.

The modest left-wing support comes despite the White House releasing a statement in opposition to the bill – though the Biden administration stopped short of threatening to veto the measure.

“There are more effective ways to defend Israel, preserve U.S. positions on the ICC, and promote international justice and accountability, and the Administration stands ready to work with the Congress on those options,” the White House said in a statement on Monday.

House lawmakers were engaged in bipartisan talks last month to respond to the ICC after chief prosecutor Karim Khan said he would seek arrest warrants against both Israeli and Hamas officials over the war in Gaza. Those talks apparently broke down, however, with the White House’s statement being the final nail in the coffin.




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