U.S. House passes bill threatening sanctions on ICC following arrest warrants requested on Israeli leaders

The bipartisan vote sends the legislation to the Senate, despite White House opposition and calls for alternative responses.

U.S. House passes bill threatening sanctions on ICC following arrest warrants requested on Israeli leaders
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
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In a bipartisan vote on Wednesday, the GOP-led House passed the Illegitimate Court Counteraction Act, a bill that threatens to impose sanctions on the International Criminal Court (ICC) following its chief prosecutor's request for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders. The legislation, which now heads to the Senate, received support from 205 Republicans and 42 Democrats, despite President Joe Biden's opposition to the bill.

The Illegitimate Court Counteraction Act seeks to "impose sanctions with respect to the International Criminal Court engaged in any effort to investigate, arrest, detain, or prosecute any protected person of the United States and its allies." The proposed penalties include restrictions on transactions of property and interests within the United States, as well as visas, admission, or parole of individuals linked to offending actions by the ICC, the Daily Wire reported.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), who introduced the sanctions bill early last month, cited reports suggesting that the ICC was prepared to issue arrest warrants against Israeli officials in response to the war in the Gaza Strip. In a statement following the bill's passage, Roy said, "This sends a strong message to the ICC that we will not tolerate their outrageous attacks on Israel. But let's be clear, this isn't just about Israel, this is about ensuring that our nation's sovereignty is protected, as well as our servicemembers."

The move to pass the bill comes roughly two weeks after ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan requested arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and Hamas leaders, drawing bipartisan criticism from U.S. leaders. While President Biden called the applications for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders "outrageous," the White House released a statement opposing Roy's bill, suggesting that there are "more effective ways" for the United States to respond.

With the Democrat-controlled Senate, it remains uncertain whether the ICC sanctions legislation will be brought up for consideration, as other GOP measures, such as a comprehensive border security bill from last year, have been set aside by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). However, Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), a co-sponsor of the ICC sanctions bill, urged the upper chamber to "immediately" pass the legislation.

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