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US Senators Play Schoolyard Bully Against International Criminal Court

Above photo: Karim Khan KC, ICC Prosecutor. Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images.

“Target Israel and we will target you.”

The ICC recently revealed that U.S. Republican Senators sent a threatening letter to the ICC in response to Israel’s concern that an arrest warrant may be issued against it. This pressure campaign on the ICC is but one piece of the United States’ attempt to shield Israel from accountability for its crimes.

Despite the fact that the United States is not a member nation of the International Criminal Court (ICC), that organization has been under its sway from its inception. The ICC has only prosecuted Africans and a few Serbians who were accused of war crimes during the NATO-engineered breakup of the former Yugoslavia. The ICC has never issued an arrest warrant for Israel’s many documented war crimes.

After Israeli officials publicly expressed concern that the ICC might issue arrest warrants for Benjamin Netanyahu and other high-ranking Israeli officials, U.S. pressure began in earnest. Recently a letter to the ICC signed by twelve republican senators was made public. In the letter they expressed contempt for international law and openly stated their intention to punish the ICC if it acted against Israeli officials.

“Target Israel and we will target you” and “You have been warned,” are words that should create outrage around the world. Not only is the U.S. not an ICC member state, but during the George W. Bush administration congress passed what is known as the Hague Invasion Act, which prohibits U.S. citizens or even citizens of allied nations from being prosecuted and declares a right to invade the Hague and free any such person should they fall under the control of the ICC.

The letter says that ICC officials and their families will be sanctioned and barred from entering the U.S. if arrest warrants are issued for any Israeli officials. It is unlikely that the ICC will change course and suddenly prosecute Israelis but the letter is quite instructive. It exposes how the U.S. conducts itself around the world, as a bully which uses its power to control and to dominate.

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