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Israeli group wants US to investigate George Clooney's wife for her role in ICC decision against Netanyahu

The Israeli organization Shurat HaDin claimed that Amal Clooney illegally participated in the ICC investigation into war crimes in Gaza and Israel and played a crucial role in the decision to issue arrest warrants against the Jewish state's prime minister and its defense minister.

George and Amal ClooneyFrederic J. BROWN / AFP

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Israeli civil rights organization Shurat HaDin, representing hundreds of victims of the Oct. 7 terror attack, has urged U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate Amal Clooney. Clooney, a Lebanese-British lawyer and activist, and wife of actor George Clooney, is accused of allegedly aiding the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague in applying for an arrest warrant against Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last May.

Amal Clooney was part of the ICC advisory forum and, along with five other international law experts, signed a document supporting the request for arrest warrants. The document advocated for warrants not only against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but also for Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant as well as senior Hamas officials Yahya Sinwar and Mohammed Deif.

Shurat HaDin claimed that Clooney's actions violated the American Service Personnel Protection Act, a law designed to protect U.S. military and public officials, as well as those from allied countries, from ICC prosecutions. The U.S. is not a party to the ICC and the ASPA specifically prohibits any ICC representatives from conducting investigations, prosecutions or other legal proceedings while physically in the United States.

According to the Israeli organization, Amal Clooney unlawfully participated in the ICC's investigative activities against Netanyahu for war crimes while on U.S. soil.

Shurat HaDin argued that the lawyer participated in an investigative forum convened to evaluate evidence against suspects of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Israel and the Gaza Strip. This forum was tasked with examining the legal analysis supporting ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan's request to issue arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Gallant, as well as several Hamas figures.

In addition, Shurat HaDin stated in the request that Clooney publicly discussed her participation in the ICC investigations forum and boasted about her actions to incriminate the two Israeli leaders.

The Israeli organization referred to a statement released by the Clooney Foundation for Justice, a human rights group she co-founded with her husband, following Prosecutor Khan's decision. In the statement, she stated that the prosecution had enlisted her to assist with the investigation, asking her to review evidence of alleged war crimes and provide legal analysis.

In the statement, Amal Clooney said, "I do not accept that any conflict should be beyond the reach of the law, nor that any perpetrator should be above the law." She added: "So I support the historic step that the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has taken to bring justice to victims of atrocities in Israel and Palestine."

According to attorney Nitshana Darshan-Leitner, president of the Shurat HaDin organization, U.S. law is very clear. She stressed that it is "outrageous that this biased court in The Hague would attempt to prosecute Israeli officials as they battle the Hamas murderers." She concluded, "If Amal Clooney participated in the ICC panel investigating Prime Minister Netanyahu while residing in the U.S. then she is the one that needs to be prosecuted."

George Clooney reached out to the White House to defend his wife

The Washington Post reported that last May, after the ICC announced its decision to issue the arrest warrants for the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, George Clooney called one of President Joe Biden's top aides to express his displeasure over the criticism made by the U.S. leader of the court. 

According to the Washington Post, George Clooney contacted Steve Ricchetti, counselor to the president, to express his disagreement with Biden's criticism of the decision in which, according to Shurat HaDin, his wife played a key role.

The Washington post reported that Clooney was concerned with the Biden administration's initial intention to impose sanctions on the ICC because these penalties could affect his wife.

UK questions ICC jurisdiction over arrest warrant against Netanyahu

The United Kingdom recently filed a brief questioning the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court over Israel, which could delay the issuance of an arrest warrant against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following the decision made by prosecutor Khan.

The submission made by the European country stresses that Israel is not a member of the ICC, and although the Palestinian Authority joined the court in 2015, the Oslo Accords signed in 1993 by then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat indicate that only Israel has legal jurisdiction over its soldiers.

The UK is challenging the ICC's power to investigate war crimes in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel, as this is a jurisdiction that the court granted to itself in 2021.

According to information from the Times of Israel, the ICC had tried to keep secret the UK's intentions to challenge its power but because the document has become public, the court gave other members until July 12 to file their own briefs on the matter, so it appears that the issuance of arrest warrants will be suspended until after that date.

This May, when the ICC announced its decision, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called the move "deeply unhelpful," noting that there is no moral equivalence between a sovereign state (Israel) defending itself from the Hamas terrorist group.