Nineteen House Dems call for U.S. sanctions on the International Criminal Court

The letter comes days after the Biden administration publicly rejected such an approach to the ICC prosecutor’s request for arrest warrants for Israeli officials

Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Karim Khan, prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, speaks at Security Council meeting on reports of the Secretary-General on the Sudan and South Sudan at UN Headquarters.

Two days after the Biden administration said it wouldn’t support sanctions on the International Criminal Court and its officials for seeking arrest warrants against Israeli officials, a group of 19 House Democrats said it supports sanctioning the tribunal’s officials, Jewish Insider has learned.

The administration’s announcement came after a week of back-room discussions on Capitol Hill about the prospect of sanctions, though some Democrats were reluctant to publicly endorse sanctions at this stage. The administration’s announcement this week likely torpedoed the possibility of passing a bipartisan sanctions bill through Congress, as some key Republican lawmakers had hoped.

But the 19 pro-Israel Democrats signaled in a letter to Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday that there is still bipartisan support on Capitol Hill for sanctioning the international tribunal.

“ICC officials have in the past been sanctioned after engaging in a pattern of vindictive and unnecessary investigations. Current ICC officials must be held to the same standard,” the letter reads. “We urge the Administration to consult with Congress to immediately impose sanctions against the ICC’s Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan and any other officials who have demonstrated undue bias in their actions.”

The letter was signed by Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Jared Moskowitz (D-FL), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Dina Titus (D-NV), Jared Golden (D-ME), Kathy Manning (D-NC), Ritchie Torres (D-NY), Darren Soto (D-FL), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Susie Lee (D-NV), Debbie Wasserman Schutlz (D-FL), Don Davis (D-NC), Greg Landsman (D-OH), Vicente Gonazalez (D-TX), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-WA) and Dean Phillips (D-MN).

They were joined by Republican Reps. Marc Molinaro (R-NY), Don Bacon (R-NE), Mike Lawler (R-NY), Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY), Tom Kean (R-NJ) and Nick LaLota (R-NY).

“Above all, these warrants are an affront to due process, a clear maneuver by a biased organization masquerading as a neutral arbiter of justice [that] cannot go without consequences,” the letter reads.

The lawmakers called the warrant application “biased and erroneous,” said they are “deeply outraged that the ICC would even attempt to equate democratically elected officials acting in self-defense with terrorist leaders” and said it “gives Hamas further cover to walk away from the table.”

The letter warns that if the ICC approves the warrants, “this will only embolden our adversaries, including the Iranian-backed proxies across the region, to continue their terrorist campaign against freedom and democracy.” 

Subscribe now to
the Daily Kickoff

The politics and business news you need to stay up to date, delivered each morning in a must-read newsletter.