United States signals support for possible ICC sanctions over Israel warrants

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has suggested he will work with lawmakers on potential sanctions against the International Criminal Court as its prosecutor seeks arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials.

Mr Blinken told a congressional hearing he was “committed” to taking action against the “profoundly wrong-headed decision”.

His comments come amid a Republican push to impose sanctions on ICC officials.

At a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, James Risch, its top Republican, asked whether Mr Blinken would support legislation to address the ICC “sticking its nose in the business of countries that have an independent, legitimate, democratic judicial system”.

“We want to work with you on a bipartisan basis to find an appropriate response. I’m committed to doing that,” the secretary of state said.

Mr Blinken said “there’s no question we have to look at the appropriate steps to take to deal with, again, what is a profoundly wrong-headed decision”.

Mr Blinken’s remarks echoed the broader pushback in Washington over the court’s decision.

At least two measures imposing sanctions on the ICC had already been introduced in Congress as the court ramped up its inquiry into Israel’s handling of the war in Gaza.

Support on Capitol Hill appears to be coalescing around a bill launched earlier this month by Texas Republican Chip Roy.

The Illegitimate Court Counteraction Act would target ICC officials involved with the case by blocking their entry to the US, revoking any current US visas they hold, and prohibiting them from any property transactions within the country – unless the court ceases its cases against “protected persons of the United States and its allies”.

At least 37 lawmakers in the Republican-led House are now co-sponsoring the legislation, including Elise Stefanik, the chamber’s third highest-ranking Republican.


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