Friday, May 17, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Friday, May 17, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Comment: Washington demands that the ICC bend to its will

The situation in Gaza

The American double standard is striking, and it is astonishing that the White House believes that nothing on this planet can happen without its approval. The US abandoned the ICC when there was a danger that its own soldiers would be convicted of war crimes, and now Washington believes that the court should once again bend to its will.

Published 5 May 2024
- By Jenny Piper
Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv.
This is an opinion piece. The author is responsible for the views expressed in the article.

When the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided last year to issue an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes over the alleged illegal deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia, it was strongly supported by US President Joe Biden, even though the US itself is not a member of the ICC.

These allegations were later refuted when these children turned up in Germany, but of course no one suggested that the erroneous arrest warrant should be withdrawn.

But now that the Hague-based court will soon issue arrest warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials for their roles in alleged war crimes against the Palestinians, it’s a very different story.

Axios reported Monday that Netanyahu has asked Biden to stop the ICC from trying to prosecute him or other officials in his government, while both Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the US have called for retaliation against the ICC if it issues arrest warrants for Israeli leaders.

For example, US Representative Brad Sherman (Democrat, California) has insisted that Washington should retaliate against any attempt to arrest Israeli leaders during its ongoing war with Hamas.

“The International Criminal Court is apparently considering rulings against Israeli leaders for legitimate self-defense”. Such a move would, according to him, turn the court into a “kangaroo court”. The “President [Joe Biden] must condemn this, and I know Congress will ensure consequences for such an absurd decision”.

Ritchie Torres (Democrat, New York) has insisted that both Congress and Biden must respond with “strong consequences” if the ICC issues arrest warrants against Israelis:

The weaponization of international law—in the service of terror—cannot be allowed to stand.

Republicans have made similar statements. Representative Elise Stefanik (Republican, New York) said that “The ICC is propping up Hamas by attempting to punish the only democracy in the Middle East just for defending itself against barbaric terrorism”.

Senator John Fetterman (Democrat, Pennsylvania) said that an attempt to prosecute Israeli leaders “would be a fatal blow to the judicial and moral standing of ICC” and called on Biden to intervene.

Speaker Mike Johnson (Republican, Louisiana) insisted that the ICC has no jurisdiction over Israel and called the possible order “baseless and illegitimate”, adding that it would undermine US national security.

The double standard is striking, and it is astonishing that Americans believe that nothing on this planet can happen without their approval.

The US abandoned the ICC when its own soldiers were in danger of being convicted of war crimes, and now Washington thinks the court should bend to its will.

In a “law-based society”, criminals who break laws are prosecuted, but only if the US likes the charges, not if the accused is a friend of the US.




Jenny Piper

All Jenny Piper's articles can be found on her blog.

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