Blinken says he wants to work with Congress to penalize the International Criminal Court

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 21, 2024.


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he wants to work with Congress on legislation to criminalize the International Criminal Court after it sought arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister , Yoav Gallant.

“Given yesterday’s events, I think we have to consider the appropriate steps to take to confront again what is a profoundly misguided decision,” Blinken said at a State Department budget hearing before the US Foreign Affairs Committee. Senate.

Blinken’s comments were an early indication of the Biden administration’s willingness to take action against the Netherlands-based court over its request for arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials. The court’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, also issued warrants against senior Hamas officials, including its leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar.

Blinken was responding to questions from the committee’s ranking member, Republican Senator James Risch, who asked whether Blinken would work with him on legislation that “includes the issue of the ICC sticking its nose into the affairs of countries that have a legitimate and independent power.” “democratic judicial system.”

“The devil is in the details, so let’s see what we have and we can go from there,” Blinken said in response, adding that he wants to work with the committee “in a bipartisan way.”

The Biden administration came out strongly against Khan on Monday over his decision to seek arrest warrants against senior Israeli officials accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“It is clear that Israel wants to do everything possible to ensure the protection of civilians,” Biden said at a White House reception marking American Jewish Heritage Month. “Let me be clear: what is happening is not a genocide.”

Lawmakers from both parties condemned the ICC’s actions on Monday, and House Speaker Mike Johnson said House Republicans are studying the possibility of sanctioning the ICC.

“In the absence of leadership from the White House, Congress is reviewing all options, including sanctions, to punish the ICC and ensure that its leaders face consequences if they proceed. If the ICC is allowed to threaten Israeli leaders, ours could be next,” Johnson said in a statement on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration has faced questions about its condemnation of the ICC’s actions, while saying it continues to support the court’s investigation into Russian war crimes during its invasion of Ukraine.

“With respect to the question of whether we will continue to provide support to the ICC with respect to crimes being committed in Ukraine, yes, we continue that work,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said at a news conference after a meeting virtual meeting of the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group on Monday.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said at a news conference Monday that the ICC has done “important work over the years to hold people accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity” that the United States United still supports.

“We will have time to look at it, digest it and perhaps issue a more complete response,” Miller said of the ICC requests.

The Trump administration previously sanctioned ICC officials by executive order in 2020 for their investigation of possible war crimes committed by US military and intelligence officials in Afghanistan, sanctions that the Biden administration lifted the following year.