Blinken to Senate: Open to sanctions against ICC for Israel warrants

Blinken tells lawmakers that the State Department will work with Congress to develop an "appropriate response" to ICC. (Photo/AA)

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken has told the US Senate that he is willing to collaborate on a bipartisan basis to develop an "appropriate response," which may include a proposal to sanction the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Blinken's remarks came after US Senator Lindsey Graham raised concerns on Tuesday over the ICC prosecutor Karim Khan's application for arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials, saying, "If they do this to Israel, we're next."

"Hopefully, together, we will find a way to express our displeasure with the ICC because if they do this to Israel, we're next," Graham said as Blinken testified before a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing.

"At the end of the day here, what I hope to happen is that we level sanctions against the ICC for this outrage to not only help our friends in Israel but protect ourselves over time," Graham added.

When asked by Graham whether he would support sanctioning the ICC, Blinken responded, "I welcome working with you on that."

Blinken also told lawmakers on Tuesday that the State Department will work with Congress to develop an "appropriate response" after the ICC chief prosecutor filed applications for arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Defence Minister Yoav Gallant.

"Senator Risch, in short, let's look at it. We want to work with you on a bipartisan basis to find an appropriate response. I'm committed to doing that," Blinken said under questioning from Senator Jim Risch, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's top Republican.

"As you say, the devil's in the details, so let's see what you got. And we can take it from there," he added.

Blinken's comments mark the strongest signal of a shift within the Biden administration after the White House on April 30 pushed back against threats from US lawmakers to retaliate against the Court's officials, their families, and associates if the ICC issues arrest warrants for Israeli officials.

The Biden administration has maintained that the Court lacks jurisdiction over Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

While Israel is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, the ICC's founding document, Palestine acceded in 2015.

Although the Biden administration has rejected the Court's jurisdiction over Israel because it is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, it lauded the ICC's decision to issue arrest warrants for senior Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, for Russia's war in Ukraine.

Like Israel, Russia is also a non-signatory to the Rome Statute.


Source: TRT