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US Disregards ICC's Authority on Arrest Warrant Against Netanyahu

© AP Photo / Peter DejongExterior view of the International Criminal Court, or ICC, in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, April 30, 2024
Exterior view of the International Criminal Court, or ICC, in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, April 30, 2024 - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.05.2024
Both Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden have lambasted the charges against the Israeli leader, with Biden calling the decision “outrageous” and Netanyahu referring to it as a “farce” and antisemitic.
Karim Khan, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced on Monday that he is seeking arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leader Yehiya Sinwar. They are charging the two leaders, who are at the heart of the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip, of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
On Monday, the US human rights lawyer, writer and activist Dan Kovalik joined Sputnik's The Critical Hour to discuss the charges against the two leaders and the decision's possible fallout.
“They have jurisdiction because why? Not because Israel ratified the Rome Statute of the ICC nor did the US, but because Hamas did. They're actually the ones who care more about international law than either the US or Israel, which is interesting,” Kovalik suggested.

“I think these warrants are a good move by the ICC. I'm surprised, honestly, that they're going after high-ranking officials of Israel, a very important ally to the US. This really is off-script for the ICC. And I think this maybe shows that there's some force of international law left in the world. I hope so. The warrants are totally proper, to say the least,” he added.

The exterior view of the International Criminal Court are pictured in The Hague, Netherlands. - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.05.2024
Biden Calls ICC Prosecutor’s Application For Arrest Warrants Against Israel 'Outrageous'
Sputnik’s Garland Nixon addressed the irony of US politicians suggesting that the ICC does not have authoritative power over the US nor Israel; however, last year they had urged the ICC to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin and his “enablers” accountable for aspects of the ongoing war in Ukraine.
“Israel is fighting a just war for survival, and the ICC is attempting to equate Israeli officials to the evil terrorists who perpetrated the October 7th massacre,” US House Speaker Mike Johnson said in a statement on Monday. “In the absence of leadership from the White House, Congress is reviewing all options, including sanctions, to punish the ICC and ensure its leadership faces consequences if they proceed.”
“This whole notion that the US is above the law and that it's shocked that somehow the ICC could come looking for it. It's just amazing,” said Kovalik. “It just shows how the US sees itself positioned in the world, and that is that it can do whatever it wants in its view, but everyone else has to follow the law. And that's not how the law works. So, yes, the ICC may come calling on people like Joe Biden and Antony Blinken, and that would be a good thing.”
Sputniks’ Wilmer Leon noted that the ICC is prosecuting the two world leaders for war crimes related to the events of October 7th. But not only did Israeli and US officials lie about details of the Hamas attack on Nova musical festival attendees, Israel has been occupying the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and has been leading its occupation with repression, institutionalized discrimination and the systematic abuses of Palestine peoples’ rights for over 50 years, said the Human Rights Watch in an article from 2017.
“The ICC warrants don't cover the time period before October 7th, and also they don't cover the more serious crime of genocide. They don't, the ICC has jurisdiction to charge people with genocide and they've chosen not to do that - not yet anyway,” Kovalik explains.
“Moreover, as you say, of course, Israel, it is correct as the occupying power does not have the right of self-defense vis-a-vis the Palestinians,” he continues. “You don't have the right of self-defense against people you occupy, right? Just like a slave holder doesn't have a right of self-defense against a slave uprising, right? And of course, the US and Israel don't see it that way, but I think that is the correct way to see it.”
A Palestinian looks at the damage to buildings after Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 29, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.05.2024
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Regarding Netanyahu and how he is expected to conduct himself following the ICC’s criminal charges, Kovalik suggested that most countries would be “inclined to have him arrested pursuant to these warrants”. He added that the US may be a safe place, as the US government has suggested that they will not honor the warrants.
“The US Congress has made it clear that they don't believe the ICC has any authority over the US or its allies, only against its enemies, which, again, is obscene and ridiculous from a legal point of view,” the lawyer said. “That is not the rule of law. And now we're finally seeing that maybe the rule of law is asserting itself. And it took this horrible, horrible genocide in Gaza for that to happen.”
I think Hamas [would go to court]. Again, they said they would turn people over to the ICC for prosecution if the ICC decided to prosecute them,” said Kovalik. “And I think Israel will be hard-pressed to make the proof on many of their allegations against Hamas, and things will come out that are not favorable to Israel, and that is that many of the deaths on October 7th are attributable to the Israeli Defense Forces themselves, who we know fired upon their own people.”
Hamas launched a large-scale attack against Israel on October 7, 2023, killing some 1,200 people and abducting some 240 others. Following the attack, Israel launched retaliatory strikes, ordered a complete blockade of the Gaza Strip. Over 35,400 people have been killed so far by Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip, local authorities said.
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