The U.S. Is Right to Sanction the International Criminal Court

June 18, 2020 | James Sinkinson
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Last week, the White House issued an executive order imposing sanctions and visa restrictions on anyone involved in efforts of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute or investigate American personnel. The order was a response to the court’s spurious accusation that the U.S. committed war crimes in Afghanistan. Given the ICC’s current plans to bring charges against Israel for allowing Jews to build homes in the West Bank, and for taking military action against Hamas in 2018 and 2019, James Sinkinson argues that Washington’s recent move not only strengthens an ally, but demonstrates that those who wish to harm Israel almost always wish to harm the United States as well. Moreover, Sinkinson writes, the decision to sanction the court is a decision to take a stand against lawlessness:

Let’s start with the essential purpose of the ICC, which was set up by the United Nations under the Rome Statute in 2002 to prosecute the most heinous international crimes in the absence of a national legal system capable of doing so. [First], neither the actions of the United States nor of Israel under consideration by the ICC even remotely rise to the level of “heinous.” But more importantly, few countries on earth have internal justice systems more rigorous than those of either country.

In addition, neither the United States nor Israel are members of the ICC, so technically neither is subject to ICC authority. In other words, since the court completely lacks legal jurisdiction in these matters, its only purpose can be [a political one].

[Worse still], the ICC’s case against the United States originated from two nonprofit advocacy groups—the International Federation of Human Rights and the Center for Constitutional Rights—related to the Palestinian NGOs that brought the complaint against Israel to the ICC. [These] Palestinian NGOs “maintain strong ties to the designated terror organizations Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.” These organizations are certainly not friends of the United States or Israel.

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