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The House responds to request for Netanyahu's arrest and approves sanctions against the International Criminal Court: 'We will not tolerate its scandalous attacks against Israel'

The legislation was promoted by Chip Roy (R-TX) and had bipartisan support. 42 Democrats joined almost all Republicans in voting in favor of the text.

Chip Roy

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The House of Representatives approved legislation to penalize and sanction the International Criminal Court (ICC) after the organization issued an arrest warrant against the prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, for allegedly having committed at least seven crimes that violate the Rome Statute.

The legislation, dubbed the Counter Illegitimate Courts Act and sponsored by Chip Roy (R-TX), was approved Tuesday afternoon thanks to broad bipartisan support. 42 Democrats joined almost all Republicans to cast 247 votes in favor and just 155 against.

Despite the White House's condemnation of the ICC arrest warrant, the Biden administration opposed the bill, which is why most of the Democrats opposed it.

Nine pages long, the bill would impose sanctions on anyone involved in ICC investigations or prosecutions against Americans or allies who have not signed the Rome Statute, such as Israel.

"I am pleased that today the House passed H.R. 8282 — a bill I introduced with Representative Mast, Conference Chairwoman Stefanik, and others — to sanction the ICC if they attempt to investigate, arrest, detain, or prosecute Americans or our allies," Roy celebrated through a statement.

"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. Absent decisive leadership at the White House, Congress must stand in the breach defending our allies and our sovereignty," he added.

Democrats who voted against it, such as Congresswoman Delia Ramírez (D-IL), argued their decision by emphasizing their opposition to Netanyahu's leadership.

"I stand in opposition of this resolution because we need the ICC. In the last 241 days, thousands, thousands have been victims of unimaginable atrocities, and Netanyahu's violations of international law have threatened the peace of the world. I am determined to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes," she said.

As for the future of the legislation, as reported by The Hill, "without broad Democratic support, the legislation has no chance of passing the Senate and reaching Biden's desk."

What is the International Criminal Court?

Distinct from the United Nations' International Court of Justice, which judges countries, the ICC is a court of justice that prosecutes individuals accused of crimes against humanity, war, aggression and genocide. Its headquarters are located in The Hague (Netherlands).

The ICC is regulated by the Rome Statute (1998) and has jurisdiction over the states that are part of the aforementioned convention. However, the court does not have the signature or ratification of the United States, Israel, Russia, China and India, among many others.